The rising undefeated super lightweight is a pacesetter in and out of the ring.
Undefeated super lightweight Omar Juarez is one of the hottest young fighters in boxing today.
Juarez (11-0, 5 KOs) plans to continue to tear through opposition when he faces veteran All Rivera (21-5, 18 KOs) Sunday, June 27, on FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) live from The Armory in Minneapolis.
When Juarez isn’t fighting, he prioritizes making an impact in his community of Brownsville, Texas.
Recently, Juarez connected with fellow Brownsville native RJ Mitte, an actor best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on “Breaking Bad,” and Mauricio Sulaiman of the World Boxing Council (WBC), who proposed a project for Juarez’s gym called Adaptive Boxing. Adaptive Boxing is a program that re-designs boxing equipment to be used by people with physical challenges.
Mitte, who recently became an ambassador for the WBC’s “WBC Cares” community outreach program, connected with the WBC through Juarez.
“RJ visited the gym while I was sparring,” said Juarez. “It was Charro Days (a local annual festival). Every year for Charro Days we have a ‘Mister Amigo,’ a celebrity that comes down and greets all the people there in Brownsville. That year it happened to be Julio Cesar Chavez. I ended up training with him. RJ was there, and he ended up meeting the people from the WBC because Chavez was there.”
Mitte invited Juarez to the Brownsville premiere of Triumph, his latest film about a high school student with cerebral palsy who strives to become a successful wrestler.
“It was such an inspirational movie,” Juarez said. “I love that he’s representing our community and really blessed that the WBC is involved in everything. It’s awesome to represent them.”
Juarez works closely with a non-profit organization called Down By The Border, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and provide support to persons with Down syndrome and their families. Down By The Border assists Juarez with his local giveaway events and other community work. Juarez has also served as master of ceremonies for the organization’s “Night to Shine” prom event for special needs children, in association with the Tim Tebow Foundation.
“I’m blessed to have them in my corner,” Juarez said. “I make a promise to them every single time I enter the ring: ‘I’ll step in there with you guys in my heart.’ Working with them makes me grateful and it just inspires me every time I step in the ring. I have so many people behind me that are supporting me, I put in 100% into the training camp, and representing them gives me so much courage.
“It takes guts to step into the ring but honestly when I’m in the zone and I know I’m representing my community and I’m representing all these people, I step in there fearless.”
Recently, Juarez was the guest of honor at a party held by Down By The Border as a tribute to his success. During the party, young Nathan Rios presented Omar with paintings he created for the fighter.
Nathan was born blind. He has been painting for years with the help of his mother. Listening to Juarez’s last fight, Nathan was inspired to paint these portraits in honor of “El Relámpago.”
“Nathan’s one of my best buddies, honestly. He inspires me a lot,” Juarez said. “When I met him, they told me he was a marathon runner, plays golf, basketball—he loves sports in general. Before COVID, every Friday at our gym we were training kids with special needs for free.
“Every single Friday they would come, we would close the gym to the public, and it would be strictly just for them. My dad, me, and my little brother would train them. Nathan would put on the wraps, put on the gloves, and shadow box, hit the mitts. It’s truly inspiring because he’s not letting being blind [stop him] from enjoying life. I’ve asked him, ‘What is it that you really like to do?’ And he says, ‘Anything and everything.’ It’s mind-blowing.”
Juarez was deeply touched by the gift.
“I felt happy and I wanted to tear up at the same time. I held it together, but I gave him a big hug, I thanked him, and I told him I was going to frame them in my house for sure. They’re already framed in my parents’ house, but once I get my own house, I’m going to put them there. I told him he’s a big inspiration to me and it motivated me a lot.
“I actually worked out right after that dinner party,” Juarez laughed. “I was all pumped up.”
“ I love motivating the youth. ” Undefeated Super Lightweight - Omar Juarez
Juarez has a growing group of kids who are among his biggest fans. “It’s turning into a little team there who support me, wear my merchandise, and like to go to the gym and stuff like that. It’s adorable.”
“From now on when I fight, Down By The Border is going to do a watch party at the Golden Corral and invite all the kids from the RGV (Rio Grande Valley) with special needs to eat for free and to watch my fights. Hopefully once we get fans back, maybe for a world title fight, something like that, we can take all of them. Big plans coming soon!”
For the past year, Juarez hasn’t been able to do one of his other favorite pastimes, motivational speaking, due to the shutdown. That should be changing soon; the Brownsville school district has discussed having Juarez and his younger brother visiting the schools to speak to the kids once the public is allowed inside again.
“I love motivating the youth,” Juarez said. “Even kids who are close to my age, I love motivating them because I can relate to them. I love what I do. I go through this every day, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. A lot of people go through a lot and sometimes you just need that extra push, somebody to really be behind you, to really let you know that no matter what it is in life you want to do, you can accomplish it.
“When times are hard, when I’m going through weight cut, or anything during training camp, or even during the fight, I remember what I tell the people, and I have to be a man of my word and I have to set an example. That’s exactly what makes me not give up, not quit. I just keep going that extra round.”
For a closer look at Omar Juarez, check out his fighter page.
Anyone can donate to Down By The Border which works to enhance the quality of life and provide support to persons with Down syndrome and their families through promotion of public awareness, advocacy, and information sharing.
"Outside The Ring" is a regular feature centered on the charitable efforts of PBC fighters. Learn more about what motivates these boxers and the causes they support outside the ring.