The undefeated super lightweight prospect is teaching children how to believe in themselves and what it takes to realize their dreams.
Omar “El Relampago” Juarez knows what it's like to overcome doubt and adversity.
Juarez, 20, is a rising, unbeaten super lightweight prospect. But it didn’t always look this promising.
"My first 10 amateur fights I lost," Juarez said. "I was losing left and right, getting knocked down. The sport was basically telling me to quit. But my father was a huge fan of boxing and it all started with me just trying to make my parents proud.”
Little did he know that the losses would help him become the man he is today.
"It was hard. Like they say, boxing is the toughest and loneliest sport in the world,” said Juarez. “But it made me feel good when I saw it start to build character. I saw my life change completely in a positive way, and I told myself, ‘I've just got to keep going. This is gonna take me somewhere. This is gonna help me be something in life. And eventually I'll use this platform to help other people, motivate other athletes, and give back.’”
As soon as Juarez graduated from high school in 2016, he began dedicating time to speaking to kids in his Brownsville, Texas community.
"Growing up, what really motivated me was listening to motivational speakers like Eric Thomas and other athletes. I told myself, 'Wow, if just the power of words could change my life, maybe it could change other peoples' lives too.'
"I always told myself no matter how far I get in my career, I want to give back because growing up, not a lot of people believed in me. But just through the power of words, listening to somebody else speak about what is possible, that anything is possible, that the only limit is myself—that really inspired me to give back to others.”
“I grew up sacrificing, dedicating my whole life to the sport, and it's paying off,” said Jaurez. “My dreams are slowly becoming reality. It's gonna take time but I'm just working hard."
As a pro, Juarez is 7-0 (4 KOs). Few believed he would achieve greatness—or make it this far—but his parents never wavered in their support.
Omar is well aware that not all kids are so blessed. “I tell kids, ‘Believe in yourself. Nobody can believe in you like you can believe in yourself.’ When they tell me their parents or other people don't believe in them, I tell them that's even better. Use that as motivation.
“At the end of the day, no matter who you have believing in you, you've got to motivate yourself. I remember standing up in the first day of school and saying I want to be a professional boxer. They all looked at me like I was crazy. I tell the kids that's perfect—your dreams should be so crazy that small-minded people don't understand them.”
“ At the end of the day, no matter who you have believing in you, you've got to motivate yourself. ” Undefeated Super Lightweight Prospect - Omar Juarez
Juarez has spoken to about 35,000 kids so far in his community. During these talks, he refers to something he calls “Six Principles for Achieving Goals.”
“They're six key principles on how to achieve your goals,” Juarez explained. “I tell kids whatever they want to be in life, follow these six principles and I promise you'll get there: No excuses, confidence, discipline, strategy, team work, and self-worth.”
In February, Juarez was the guest of honor at the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “A Night to Shine,” a prom event for special needs children.
Super Lightweight sensation @iamOmarJuarez is the guest of honor at tonight’s #NightToShine celebration in Brownsville, TX. The prom-style event is for special needs children presented by @DownByTheBorder in association with the @tebowfoundation.— PBC (@premierboxing) February 7, 2020
: https://t.co/wUGO8mT3mM pic.twitter.com/orSZuvYLch
“I've been their emcee for over three years,” Juarez said. “Ever since we started working with them, we also train kids every Friday with special needs at our gym for free.”
Juarez has received recognition from the Texas State Senate, Texas House of Representatives, the city of Brownsville, the city of San Benito, and the Cameron County Commissioner’s Court for his work at schools in his community.
In addition, Juarez was invited to the office of United States Congressman Filemon Vela. Congressman Vela asked Omar to accompany him to the migrant camps on the border and to eventually serve as a spokesman to raise awareness for the plight of these immigrants.
“Being recognized is a beautiful feeling,” said Jaurez. “I don't need the recognition and I don't mind doing it regardless because it comes from my heart. I'm doing this for the love of speaking to the students. It’s not a problem to do it for free, forever, because when I speak to the students, I see myself when I was smaller.
“I get kids coming up and asking me things like, 'Hey man, I know exactly what you mean—I don't party, I don't do drugs, I only focus on soccer because I want to be the best soccer player in the world.' I tell them I know exactly how you feel. You feel lost, you feel lonely. I tell them the only person who's supposed to believe in you is yourself. You're your strongest opponent. As long as you believe in yourself and work hard, your dreams will become reality.”
Recently, Juarez had the unique opportunity to train in his own gym with one of his idols.
“We have a big festival in Brownsville called Charro Days,” Omar explained. “We invite a celebrity down and call him Mr. Amigo. Mr. Amigo happened to be Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. this year, who found out there's a local boxer here. So he showed up at our gym. We ended up training a little bit together. It was a surreal feeling.”
Everyone could use words of encouragement, even an accomplished motivational speaker like Juarez.
“He gave me some tips and he said he'll see me at the top,” Omar said proudly.
For a closer look at Omar Juarez, check out his fighter page.
Anyone can donate to the Tim Tebow Foundation, which focuses on helping children through international outreach.