The next big thing in boxing isn’t even in high school yet, but many are already calling him a future world champion.
He has been boxing since he was just eight years old, which means 13-year-old Josue Vargas only has five years of experience in his boxing career. In half a decade, however, Vargas has stacked his trophy case, won four amateur belts, is a four-time Junior Olympics champion, and has won 24 fights in a row.
Five days a week, for two hours a day, you can find Vargas working his tail off at the Morris Park Boxing Club on 644 Morris Park Avenue, along with his trainer Victor Pena, who gave Vargas the opportunity to train at the gym when he was young.
On Thursday, July 7, the 100-pound phenom won his prime-time debut with an undercard bout victory at the Paradise Theater on 2403 Grand Concourse. A second win came shorty after on Saturday, July 16, as Vargas won a decisive match at the World Class Boxing Gym on 1215 Stratford Avenue against a larger fighter from Detroit.
Vargas is ready to move on and after a relaxing week off from training, he’ll be back in the gym getting ready for a four-day tournament in Kansas City starting Tuesday, August 16.
“It means a lot at a young age to be able to travel, because that means you get to fight the best from all over the country,” the 13-year-old slugger said. “I will keep going. I want to be a professional boxer, there’s no question about it. I love to train, and I only want to keep getting better.”
Although it’s summer vacation for the young fighter, Vargas spends the school year at Aspire Preparatory Middle School at 2441 Wallace Avenue. He said his teachers are always interested in his progress in the ring, as well as his friends and other students.
Tito Vargas watches his son with admiration and pride. Although his love in life as a child was baseball, he used to spar in the ring as well as a youngster. For him, however, he’s just happy to see his son do something that he didn’t have the chance to do when he was his age.
“I watch my son, and I just feel great to see what he does,” he said. “It’s an absolute blessing to watch what he can do. If he keeps up the hard work, follows his training and stays in the right direction, I know without a doubt he has the potential to be something amazing.”
For Josue, he looks at his accomplishments as only the beginning. He first gained interest as he watched Pena and other members of the Morris Park Boxing Club march in the Bronx Columbus Day Parade five years ago. Now, his eyes are on the future.
“It looked really fun and I wanted to give it a shot,” Vargas said. “If I liked it, I would keep doing it. Now I am here.”