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What drives three boxers to be the best

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Jesus Flores works the bag at the Canal Street Boxing Gym in Lawrence.John Blanding, Boston Globe staff

Jesus Flores, 22, 5-10, 195 pounds

Title: 2015 New England Golden Gloves heavyweight champion

Hometown: Lawrence

Amateur record: 13-4

Profession: circuit board assembler; attends Northern Essex Community College

How he began boxing: "I wanted to be a wrestler and I came into the Canal Street Gym to work out. I ended up being better at boxing and fell in love with it. I like the art of it. A lot of people see it as a brutal sport but there's a lot more to boxing than just punches. It's more of a chess game."

What drives him: "It's just wanting to be more: to become a role model, and have a stable future. My dream is to become the best man I can be. That could be becoming a world champion or having a successful career. I just want to do the right thing and become a role model and just be someone that people look up to."

Xavier Vega tapes up before a training session in Lawrence.John Blanding, Boston Globe staff

Xavier Vega, 21, 5-7, 152 pounds


Title: 2015 New England Golden Gloves welterweight champion

Hometown: Lawrence

Amateur record: 33-3

Profession: construction worker

How he began boxing: "My dad was a boxer and boxed for the Junior Olympics. I always wanted to box but I have one kidney and my mom was real cautious about it. When I was 17, I started to box at the gym.

What drives him: "If I can, I want to make it in pro boxing and become the world champ, hopefully. But if that doesn't work out I would like to become a cop in Lawrence. I'd like to help the people around here and make a difference."

Yamarco Guzman

Yamarco Guzman, 22, 6 feet, 165 pounds

2016 New England Golden Gloves middleweight contender

Hometown: Lawrence

Amateur record: 8-2

Profession: electrician

How he began boxing: "My parents didn't let me box until I was 17. I came here and this gym is a big family. Our coaches, they're not just trainers, they're like our second fathers."


What drives him: "I want to be a good story out of Lawrence. I want to be something that when you see me, you can say 'That kid didn't go with the crowd; that kid actually stood up and did the right thing in life and became successful, not necessarily money-wise, but he made something out of himself.'"