Fighting for a championship
BY LINDA SMITH HANCHARICK
WEST MILFORD — Dan Powell never got into any fights when he was a student at West Milford High School which is why some might be surprised to know this 23-year-old hometown boy is heading to the lightweight title fight on Saturday in the Extreme Fighting Championships.
Powell has been a wrestler since he started in the PAL program as a kid. He was very strong, but the 2009 graduate of West Milford High School modestly called himself a "slightly above average wrestler" in high school. After high school, he said he wanted to continue competing. He moved from wrestling to jujitsu to mixed martial arts. He's been training for five years now and is undefeated in three amateur fights.
"This was a natural progression for me," said Powell, about moving from wrestling to mixed martial arts. "I wanted to keep competing."
Powell, who is a purple belt in jujitsu, said this type of fighting is a fusion of wrestling, martial arts and boxing. It is scored similar to both boxing and wrestling, with knockouts and submissions.
As an amateur, he wears six-ounce gloves and shin pads; professionals wear four-ounce gloves. There are three, three-minute rounds in a fight. At 155 pounds, Powell fights in the lightweight division.
Powell started fighting over a year ago, but has been training for five years. His training routing is pretty intense. He trains six days a week, two to three hours each day, even after working full time in the family flooring business. Training includes jujitsu, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Six weeks before a fight, his coaches ramp it up.
"They work me really hard in cardio," Powell said.
Powell said he's been fortunate as far as injuries go.
"Other than a sprained ankle, I've never been injured," he said. "So far, I've been fortunate."
Powell describes his opponent this Saturday as a "really good wrestler" whose record is 4-1.
Saturday night at the championships at the Parsippany PAL, Powell will have lots of support from family and friends. His mom, Kim Powell, is behind him. She's glad he's found his nitch. After the match Saturday, the group of family and friends will head back to the Elks Lodge here in West Milford where Kim will make all kinds of food, much of it food Dan hasn't been eating because of his training regimen. She's hoping it's a celebration.
Powell's fight and 14 others will be held at the Parsippany PAL, 33 Baldwin Road, Parsippany, on Saturday, March 8, beginning a 7 p.m.
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