Boxer killed

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An undefeated, three-time Golden Gloves winner was killed Saturday, August 16, after a confrontation in a local bodega went tragically awry.

Ronney Vargas, 20, was in a Clinton Avenue bodega in East Tremont with five of his friends at approximately 3:30 a.m. when two couples entered the establishment. After an argument supposedly arose over the guys’ girlfriends, Ronney and his friends left in his Honda Accord.

Following in their white sedan, the other group quickly pinned Ronney’s car on Hughes Avenue near 178th Street where the sedan’s unidentified driver exited his vehicle.

He then pistol-whipped Ronney before shooting him once in the chest. The man and his accomplices immediately fled the scene.

In attempts to drive for help, Ronney smashed into several parked cars before getting out of the vehicle and collapsing on the street, authorities said.

Ronney, and his dreams to one day represent the United States as an Olympic boxer, died with him that day at St. Barnabas Hospital.

 “As a father I’m destroyed,” German Vargas said, fighting back tears. “He was my big, little man. For us and our world of boxing he was not a promise, but a reality for the future.”

His older brother Ronald, 24, said Ronney was born to fight professionally, and he knew it. “Those were his first words, ‘I want to be a boxer,’” he explained about his brother’s devoted passion for the sport.

Upon immigrating to the United States from Venezuela in 1996 with his father and two brothers, at a mere eight years old, Ronney competed in his first boxing match. He lost.

 “He had everything a good fighter needed,” his manager Pat Lynch said. “He would have gone straight to the top.”

Bob Connolly, who’d first met Ronney when he represented the Webster Center PAL in the Golden Gloves years back, agreed.

“I don’t think there would have been any limit,” he said. “He could have been the middleweight champion of the world.”

While words began to escape him, Connolly assured he’d never forget Ronney’s sense of humor or selfless spirit.

“He didn’t try to put airs on anyone,” he explained. “He was a regular guy.”

Ronney attended Bronx Regional High School in Morrisania while establishing himself as a boxer with wins at the Golden Gloves tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2007. While he hosted an impressive 8-0 pro record, fighting mainly as a middleweight, his dad said he was unfairly stripped of a prosperous boxing future.

A viewing was held at Ortiz Funeral Home, 524 Southern Blvd., on Tuesday, August 19, and Wednesday, August 20. Funeral arrangements are pending.

There is still an ongoing investigation into Ronney’s death.  Anyone with information about the shooting is being asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.  All calls will remain anonymous. 

Updated 5:30 pm, October 21, 2011
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