Lightweight Noel Echevarria scores 19th pro victory in Atlanta

Kernersville resident and professional boxer, Noel “The Holy Fire” Echevarria, won, by unanimous decision, the vacant Universal Boxing Organization Championship on August 14th at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

This victory brings Noel’s boxing record to 19(12KO)-7(4KO)-0, securing him the 25th spot in the United States lightweight ranking and the top 130 of lightweights in the world.

This was Noel’s first 12 round fight and first fight for a title. His opponent, Rodrigo Guerrero from Mexico City, Mexico, was a former world champion in the super fly weight division.

Noel qualified for this world title championship fight after winning his last fight on June 5, 2021 in Jonesboro, Georgia, successfully defending his American Boxing Federation (ABF) USA Lightweight Championship against opponent, Rafael Reyes.

Noel, 30 years old, has been a resident of the Triad area since he was a teenager. Born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Noel’s family migrated to York, Pennsylvania where Noel spent most of his youth involved with gangs until his family uprooted again and moved to Winston Salem.

Despite the move, Noel struggled with staying out of trouble, bouncing from school to school, until he dropped out of high school and ultimately ended up homeless. His combative nature earned the recognition of a friend’s mom who suggested he try boxing to put his talents to good use.

As an amateur boxer, Noel won the Junior Olympics in 2010, and in 2011, he made his professional boxing debut at the Benton Convention Center in Winston Salem. When his record was undefeated at 11-0, Noel succumbed to the influence of drugs and lost six highly publicized bouts in New York, California and Philadelphia, including two bouts against world champions, Tevin Farmer and Oscar Valdez.

By 2016, Noel had lost everything, including boxing, and was living on the streets of Winston Salem, often sleeping under bridges or in a tent. “I used to sleep in my car in the Walmart parking lot in Winston then drive to my mom’s house to shower then go to work,” Noel explains. Noel believes it is through God’s Grace that he lived through those trying years, and by 2018 he was sober and back in the ring training. On June 30, 2018, Noel earned his first title, the UNBC America’s Lightweight Championship in Greensboro. He earned his second title a year later, also in Greensboro, the UNBC America’s Super Lightweight Championship. “It was a lot of hard work to prove myself, to prove that I was changed,” Noel says. “I am still working very hard for this second chance.”

In between these victories, Noel’s personal life vastly improved with his marriage to personal trainer, Alaina Echevarria. Noel graduated high school at 28 years old in 2019 and is currently studying business and entrepreneurship at Forsyth Technical Community College. He finds peace in driving his children to school every morning and watching them play in the cul-de-sac outside of their home. It is his family and the local community that Noel hopes his boxing success will benefit. “I hope to open some businesses in Kernersville and start a foundation to help troubled youth,” Noel explains. “If someone mentored me when I was younger, it would have made such a difference in my life. I’d like to make that difference.”

Winning the UBO title is certainly a step in the right direction to making this goal a reality.