By Lynne Snierson
Special to the Haverhill Gazette
---- — SALEM, N.H. — Justin Boraczek and Scott Coburn never met while they were students at Haverhill High, but Boraczek gave his fellow Hillie a memorable “how do you do” Friday night with a first round submission in Combat Zone 45 at Rockingham Park.
Matching up at 180 pounds in the first fight for both in the amateur ranks, Boraczek got Coburn to the mat in the early going and then rained down strikes on Coburn’s head and face. Boarczek, a former goalie on the Haverhill High hockey team who two weeks ago turned down an opportunity to play professionally in Europe to instead pursue a career in mixed martial arts, executed an arm bar to win in 1:50 of round 1.
“I was nervous at first because it was my first fight, but after the first ten or 15 seconds I felt like I was back at the gym where I train and then it was all okay,” said Boarczek, who works out at Dave Spero’s MMA in Atkinson, NH and fights for their Team Pit Bull. “This isn’t like hockey at all. It’s much faster and requires a lot more thinking. It was non-stop in that cage.”
Boarczek said that his strategy was to take down his opponent and utilize his ground game which was exactly what he was able to do. First, he got Coburn to the mat with a right leg maneuver and then was able to drop him against the cage while using his left leg to his advantage. When Coburn was on his back, his movement was immobilized and Boraczek could control the action.
Coburn, who fights for SC MMA, considered his first time in the cage a learning experience.
“The outcome was different from everything I expected,” he said. “I couldn’t get him into the position I wanted. I expected a lot more from myself.”
Spero said that Boraczek was the smarter, more composed and more technically sound fighter and that made all of the difference.
“I was very proud of him,” said Spero, who also was in the corner for Dan Lynch in the previous match which his fighter lost by a razor-thin split decision. “He showed a lot of confidence and I was really impressed.”
Boraczek, who said he does not regret his decision not to pursue a hockey career, added that he’s sticking with MMA and can’t wait for his next fight.
Coburn, despite the loss, is in it for the long haul as well.
“There’s no way I’m giving this up. I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “You’ll see me come back.”