Northeast Times

No pain, no gain

“If you train right and give it 100-per­cent here, it’s not even a fight out there. You go in there and you feel good. But if you don’t train, it’ll be the worst couple of minutes of your life. It could either be heav­en or hell in there, and it all de­pends on how you train.” —Javi­er Guz­man

Javi­er Guz­man, a seni­or at George Wash­ing­ton High School, trains at Phil­adelphia Fight Sports, Thursday, June 9, 2011, Phil­adelphia, Pa. In ad­di­tion to two Golden Glove cham­pi­on­ships com­pleted in the Ju­ni­or Olympics, Javi­er has won nu­mer­ous Mixed Mar­tial Arts awards. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

While most re­cent high school gradu­ates are spend­ing their sum­mer hanging out with friends or re­lax­ing down the shore, Javi­er Guz­man is hard at work. 

The mixed mar­tial arts com­pet­it­or isn’t go­ing on va­ca­tion. He’s not work­ing on his tan or en­joy­ing any parties. 

In­stead, he’s train­ing … all day, every day, all sum­mer long. 

“If you want to win, you have to do all the ex­tra stuff,” said Guz­man, 18, a North­east res­id­ent who trains at Phil­adelphia Fight Sports on Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue. “Win­ning is awe­some, but any fight­er will tell you, to live for that mo­ment, it’s awe­some but you don’t have a life. 

“I’m only eight­een, and I don’t have a life,” he con­tin­ued. “I’m al­ways here or at the track run­ning, and es­pe­cially with school and everything, I don’t have a life. But it’s worth it be­cause I love it. This is my pas­sion. This is what I do.”

Guz­man has un­der­taken mixed mar­tial arts train­ing since he was 4. He also is ex­per­i­enced in kick­box­ing and ji­ujitsu, and has two years of ex­per­i­ence as a school wrest­ler in the Phil­adelphia Pub­lic League. 

He’s cur­rently 1-1-0 in his short-lived am­a­teur ca­reer —which of­fi­cially began eight weeks ago. He de­feated Frank Doyle on April 22 dur­ing the Mat­rix Fights IV event, win­ning by sub­mis­sion just 1:55 in­to the first round. On June 2, the 5-foot-8, 155-pound fight­er lost to Dustin Hurt­gam by a un­an­im­ous de­cision. 

Guz­man is slated to face Patrick Macke dur­ing the main event of the Locked in Cage 8 event, sched­uled for Ju­ly 15. 

“I got a title next month, so I have to train non­stop,” said Guz­man. “It feels good, but it’s ex­haust­ing. Some­times it’s tough, be­cause I want to spend time with my friends and my fam­ily and my girl­friend, but I can’t. I have to be here train­ing. 

“If you train right and give it one-hun­dred per­cent here, it’s not even a fight out there. You go in there and you feel good,” he ad­ded. “But if you don’t train, it’ll be the worst couple of minutes of your life. It could either be heav­en or hell in there, and it all de­pends on how you train.”

Al­though he of­fi­cially has com­peted in only two am­a­teur MMA fights, Guz­man has more than a dec­ade of ex­per­i­ence. He is a two-time Golden Gloves cham­pi­on and com­peted in the Ju­ni­or Olympics.  

He spent much of his ca­reer train­ing with the Ti­ger Schul­mann mar­tial-arts school, but eight months ago he de­cided to team up with Phil­adelphia Fight Sports in May­fair.

ldquo;I kind of hit a brick wall,” ex­plained Guz­man. “I don’t dis­respect Ti­ger Schul­mann in any way. It’s noth­ing against them. They taught me my roots and everything. But I like it here, too. We go hard here. We work on a lot of dif­fer­ent things, and it’s in­tense.” 

Guz­man wrestled for North­east High School’s varsity team as a fresh­man, but he trans­ferred to George Wash­ing­ton High School dur­ing his ju­ni­or year. He joined the Eagles’ wrest­ling squad that winter, then de­cided to con­cen­trate solely on his MMA train­ing throughout his seni­or year. 

“North­east was a little far. I live closer to Wash­ing­ton,” said Guz­man, who lives off Knights Road in the Far North­east. “I like it a lot there. I’m go­ing to miss it. I’m really go­ing to miss it. I’m kind of sad that it’s already time for gradu­ation. I don’t want to leave. I’m go­ing to miss every­body.”

Guz­man plans to at­tend the Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia’s North­east cam­pus for his fresh­man year, fol­lowed by a trans­fer to Temple Uni­versity.

ldquo;I think fin­an­cially it’ll be a lot easi­er,” he said  of his plan. “I want to study phys­ic­al ther­apy or busi­ness and fin­ance to get in­to pro­mo­tion­al stuff. I’m not ex­actly sure yet, so CCP will give me a chance to fig­ure it out.”

Re­gard­less of the ca­reer path he pur­sues in the classroom, Guz­man is cer­tain of his ath­let­ic goals. 

“I want to get in as many fights as I can and jump to pro. I’m not in a huge rush to go pro, but I want to get in as many fights as I can and rack up as many titles as I can,” Guz­man said. “I’m def­in­itely not the best right now. I still have a lot of work to do. Even­tu­ally, though, I know I’ll be the best out there.” ••

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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