Josue Vargas Sits Down With Boxing Insider Radio to Discuss His Future Plans After His Recent Title Win
Fresh off his first world title, Josue Vargas sat down with Boxing Insider radio which airs every Tuesday and is available on iTunes, Spotify and Boxinginsider.com, to discuss what it felt like to bring home the IBF North American title and his future plans.
When you’ve been given the nickname “The Prodigy” you immediately deal with pressure from the boxing public. Such is the case for Josue Vargas.
At 21 years of age, Vargas is still in the infancy stages of his career. Yet this past Saturday night on December 14th, at Madison Square Garden, Vargas took a huge step forward in his career by defeating Noel Murphy and taking home the vacant IBF North American Super Lightweight world title.
The punches that Vargas swarmed Murphy with on the night were nothing in comparison to the swarming fans who congratulated him after his victory.
“It feels great, I feel excited,” said Vargas on Boxing Insider Radio. “It’s just the beginning. This is my first title as a professional fighter so it means a lot to me and my family.”
The IBF North American title is viewed as a smaller trinket in the world of boxing. A stepping stone, if you will. No big name fighter values this belt, but no other fighter who has worked their way to the top of their respective division has gone on to become a legitimate world champion without it either.
It’s a process. Unless your name is Vasiliy Lomachenko, who won his first world title in his third professional contest, just about every fighter goes through these steps.
Before Vargas nabbed his first world title, he was considered nothing more than a prospect. A fighter with promise and one that many of us had to keep an eye on. From there, it was up to him to grab our attention even more. Through 17 professional contests he has won 16 of them, but truthfully, he won every single fight of his career.
In the 7th contest of his career, Vargas was dominating against Samuel Santana. He was clearly on his way to victory, until he was called for an illegal blow during the break and was subsequently given the loss via disqualification because of it.
If you want to call that a loss, then fine. Technically, you would be right. But anyone who has seen the contest knows that he should have a spotless record. Nevertheless, Vargas hasn’t lost a fight since, and can now call himself a world champion. By no means was it easy, but it was certainly worth it.
“I have a lot of respect for Murphy. He came ready to fight and in shape but as you can see in the later rounds he just couldn’t hang with me anymore. I was just too much for him. The more rounds it goes the stronger I get.”
Up until this point in his career, everything had come easy for him. Whenever Vargas is seen outside of the ring, he always flashes a bright smile from ear to ear. Whether you seen him after a boxing match or simply on his way to the store, he always looked the same. The reason behind that is his opponents could seldom ever touch him in the ring. He was simply too slick. In his contest against Murphy however, that just wasn’t the case.
“In the beginning of the rounds it was a bit of a chess match. But in the 4th round my dad started yelling at me so that’s when I decided I’m just going to bring it to him because he had nothing left in the tank. I said to myself that I’m going to walk him down and not respect him. If I would’ve started the way that I did in the second half of the fight, it would’ve been a stoppage in the sixth or seventh round.”
Vargas might be sporting a black eye now, but he also sports a championship belt around his waist as well.
There is often times a chain reaction whenever a fighter captures championship gold, he wants more and more. He’ll get exactly that and a full schedule of fights in 2020.
“It’s going to be a busy, busy, busy 2020. They are going to have me fighting March 14th, again at MSG defending the title and adding another title on top of that so they’ll be two titles on the line.”
Becoming overzealous is something that trainers and promoters would like to stop their fighters from becoming. Vargas is clearly on the fast track to stardom, but don’t tell him that he is moving too quickly.
The 140 pound division is lined up with killers from top to bottom, but Vargas views himself in the same vein as the other top dogs in the division. The picture of Vargas can be viewed if you ever looked up the word confident in the dictionary, because according to him he’s ready for whomever is placed in front of him, including the elite at 140.
“Styles make fights and everybody has a different style and fights different. I’ve been in the ring with Jose Ramirez. We’ve sparred over 40 rounds because I was his sparring partner in Cali. So I know how that would be. He’s undefeated and the WBC and WBO champion for a reason, he’s been doing a great job so I give him a lot of respect. I think that would be a great fight. I’ve been in the ring with all of these world champions like Floyd Mayweather, Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia so none of these guys put fear in my heart. I feel like I can give them a great fight and even take the title from them. I think I will fight for a world title in early 2021.”
A title shot could very well be in the future of Vargas, but not immediately. For now, he plans on continuing his winning ways in 2020.
It almost doesn’t make any sense that a fighter who has only just recently been given the green light to drink alcohol, to possess such sublime boxing skills. His work ethic and natural talent should has always been apparent, but if it was not for his trainer Jose Guzman, none of this would be possible.
“I call him my brother. I watched him growing up and training and going to his professional fights, to him now working my corner and being in my corner and doing the mitts with me. Giving me instructions and guiding me the right way. Every time before the weigh ins, he makes sure I don’t eat any candy or drink any soda,” said Vargas while chuckling. “You got to have somebody like that on your team who will watch you 24/7 because he knows boxing and he’s been there and done that so you got to have people like that on your team.”
Adding to his already impressive team is one of the very best trainers in the world in Andre Rozier. His work with world champions should give an indication of the career trajectory of Vargas.
“It means everything,” said Vargas of Rozier joining his corner. “He had Danny Jacobs and on that night he had Richard Commey so he’s another guy who has a lot of experience training world champions. For him to be in my corner and giving me the right instructions as well it just means everything to me. And of course, you have my father who is always hyping me up and making sure that I step on the gas and take my opponents out of there.”
All of the pieces are in place for Vargas, but he does have a few questions surrounding him and his ability to compete at an elite level. The skills are there, but he has more to prove going forward.
Remember The Name: Josue Vargas
By: Hans Themistode
Is it fair to name current WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford the best fighter in the world?
It sure is.
Deciding who exactly is the best pound for pound fighter is a subjective matter, opinion based, but often filled with plenty of facts to back your initial thoughts. With titles reigns at the three separate weight classes including an undisputed run at 140 pounds, Crawford makes a legitimate case for being considered every and anyones pound for pound number one fighter in the world.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas, a two time Olympian will get his chance this Saturday night to hand him his first defeat in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. It is an unlikely scenario, but this is the sport of boxing where anything can happen.
This New York City based card has a ton of storylines and huge fights on the docket. Of course the main event featuring Crawford is a headline grabber. Teofimo Lopez and Richard Commey in the co-main event could be a main event all on its own. Don’t forget about Michael Conlan vs Vladimir Nikitin either. That contest just screams main event.
In short, this is a must see card.
Often times something unexpected happens at these fighting events. Fighters such as Terence Crawford and Teofimo Lopez might be who the fans pay to see, but more times then not, they aren’t who they leave talking about the most that night.
You fully understand how that goes, don’t you? A young, relatively unknown fighter on the undercard enters the ring on fight night and dominates his competition. What ensues are a series of questions.
“Who is he?”
“When is he fighting again?”
When Super Lightweight prospect Josue Vargas steps into the ring, that is the impression he often leaves fans with. From the moment the opening bell rings, it becomes ostensible just how good Vargas is. There isn’t anything mundane about the personality of Vargas as his bravado protrudes from aura no matter where he is.
It isn’t simply that he is a great young fighter, but he also seemingly has the support of not only his hometown but also from those who have come across him.
“A lot of supporters bought tickets online, from me, from instagram, my neighborhood,” said Vargas. “I’ve got people flying in from Virginia. I’m definitely going to try to steal the show, that’s the plan.”
Stealing the show is something that Vargas has become accustomed to doing throughout his young career. There is a reason why he was first signed by Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions before ultimately signing with TopRank. The kid just seems to have all of the requisite tools to become a star.
“I want to be the new face of Puerto Rico.”
His resolute and bold attitude has given him good reason to believe that he can follow in the footsteps of some of the very best boxers out of Puerto Rico. Determining whether or not Vargas will be successful in his attempt to become the new face of Puerto Rico is a question that is too difficult to answer at this very moment. However, something that is not arduous to see, is the talent that he possesses.
“Stay tuned and witness greatness this Saturday night, December 14th.”
Josue Vargas has gained the attention that he has been asking for. Now, it is his job to keep it and continue to put on a show, starting this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Josue Vargas: Keeping The Hype Train Rolling
By: Hans Themistode
Super Lightweight prospect Josue Vargas (13-1, 8 KOs) has the confidence that is associated with a veteran in the sport of boxing. With four years and 14 professional fights under his belt, he seems ready for the next step in his career.
On Saturday July 13th, at the Prudential Center in Newark New Jersey, Vargas will once again have the opportunity to have his skills on full display. Earlier in the year he made it look easy against veteran fighter Adriano Ramirez. His upcoming opponent, Manuel Lopez, will seemingly provide him with a stiff test. Don’t count Vargas amongst those who is expecting Lopez to be the toughest challenge of his young career.
“I’m not overlooking Lopez at all,” said Vargas. “He’s a tough guy but I don’t think he will be the best opponent I’ve ever got in the ring with. I’ve sparred with Floyd Mayweather, Jose Ramirez, Mikey Garcia and Gervonta Davis before so I’ll be well prepared come fight night.”
Vargas is well known for some of his gym wars with the aforementioned Gervonta Davis. Although the two are in different weight classes, it is a fight that intrigues Vargas later down the line.
“He’s a great fighter and a two time world champion. I’m just now getting up there in the rankings but I know that I can hang with him but right now I’m taking my time. I would love that fight sometime in the future if he decides to move up.”
The thought of a showdown between Davis and Vargas is mouth watering. However, with both men campaigning in entirely different weight classes, that fight isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. With so many great fighters already at the Super Lightweight division, the fighter nicknamed “The Prodigy” is hoping for a significant step up in opposition assuming he gets past Lopez.
“Chris Algieri and Hank Lundy are guys that I’m looking at in terms of a step up bout. Those are guys that have either been champion or have fought for the title. They have the sort of name that I want on my resume. I’m ready for that kind of step up.”
Take a look at the record of Vargas and you will notice a blemish. Usually in the sport of boxing, an early loss in the career of a fighter could be an indicator that he might not have what it takes to compete at an elite level. In the case of Vargas, this isn’t the case. In his seventh professional fight, Vargas was matched up with journeyman level fighter Samuel Santana.
It was a contest that “The Prodigy” was dominating. After scoring three knockdowns through the first three rounds, Vargas connected with a punch that saw his man go down once again. The only issue is that the punch was thrown after the referee was trying to break them up.
It was later ruled that Santana was unable to continue. Sure it is a loss on the record of Vargas, but one which would not have occurred if not for an unfortunate set of circumstances. Vargas has since put the loss behind him but would be interested in a rematch sometime down the line.
“When he went down his trainer was telling him don’t get up because they knew that I was going to get disqualified. They knew they weren’t going to win that fight. I just dropped him three times before that.
I do want that fight again but it isn’t necessary. Everybody knows what happens, I was winning the whole fight so yeah I would take that fight but I don’t care about it too much. I don’t consider it a loss.”
Vargas main focus now resides in not only winning his upcoming match against Manuel Lopez, but to also look dominate while doing so.
“I’m going to definitely go in there and break him down. I’m Hoping in the later rounds I can score the stoppage.”
With knockout wins in four of his five contest, it seems that another eye catching performance could be in store come July 13th.
Josue Vargas: “I’m Just Going To Keep Knocking These Guys Out.”
By: Sean Crose
“It’s going great,” Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas (12-1) says of training camp in the leadup to his Saint Patrick’s Day clash with Adriano Ramirez (10-2) at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Vargas, a rising super lightweight, has now found himself sharing a card with the likes of Luis Collazo, and Michael Conlon. “I have a lot of fans in New York,” he says, “mainly in the Bronx.” Needless to say, the New Yorker expects to have his supporters on hand come the 17th. “A lot of people bought tickets,” he adds.
Vargas, who has eight KO’s on his record, has stopped all of his last four opponents within the distance. “I’m getting older,” he says, “so my power’s getting there.” Vargas says he’s now shooting for knockouts in the fourth or fifth rounds. “I’m just going to keep knocking these guys out,” he claims. Vargas can take inspiration from Mikey Garcia, who he’s helped train for Garcia’s upcoming superbout with welterweight star Errol Spence Jr. “It was great,actually,” says Vargas of the experience. “I sparred fifteen rounds with him. It was amazing.” Although he trains with the famed Robert Garcia, Vargas is also trained by his own father, which makes boxing a family affair for the Vargas’, just like it does for the Garcia family (Robert, a former champion himself, is Mikey’s brother).
Being part of Top Rank Promotions’ stable of fighters has certainly proved beneficial for the New Yorker, as well. “Everything’s going great,” Vargas says in reference to his relationship with his promoter. With an amateur pedigree that saw him face the likes of Shakur Stevenson, Vargas is being led through the pro ranks in a manner that allows him to steadily rise while appearing on attention getting cards. “I’m getting closer to the world title,” he says. All Vargas has to do is keep winning. Ramirez, who Vargas will be facing on the 17th, is a fighter Vargas has made sure to familiarize himself with. A short, affable seeming individual who fights in a crouched style and likes to hook his shots, Dominican Republic native Ramirez is undoubtedly looking to come back strong after suffering a loss to Matt Conway last December.
Vargas, however, is not only stepping into the ring with strong backing and a strong pedigree. He’s also stepping in with the knowledge that an impressive win can help him climb up the ranks at a rapid pace. After all, the man makes it clear he’s getting closer to a world title. The March 17th Hulu Center card will be aired live on the ESPN+ streaming service.
Josue Vargas: Boxing Is My Passion
By: Sean Crose
“I had a great amateur background,” super lightweight Josue Vargas tells me. “I’m ready for anything right now.” Having recently signed with the prestigious Top Rank Promotions, Vargas is especially ready for John Renteria, his opponent this Saturday night at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. For Vargas will be part of a card that will see pound for pound powerhouse Vasyl Lomachenko pitted in the main event against Jose Pedraza. With an amateur career that saw Vargas face off against the likes of Shakur Stevenson, the Bronx native feels like he has the pedigree to rise to the top of the sport himself.
“I feel great about being with Top Rank,” he claims. “I trust them.” Although a New Yorker, Vargas headed west to California in order to train for this weekend’s match. “I was training with Robert Garcia,” claims Vargas, “and also with my dad.” While some fighters like to train close to home, Vargas is willing to travel in order to properly prep for a fight. “I didn’t stay home in New York because the winter started kicking in,” he says. “We fight in the heat…I went to California and took care of business.”
When he steps into the ring back in the east coast on Saturday, Vargas knows he will have supporters as well as detractors. “A lot of people come to support,” he says, adding that “a lot of people do hate and want to see you lose.” There are, after all, those who simply resent success. Yet Vargas is happy to be surrounded by those he feels he can count on. “My father’s my main trainer,” he tells me, “always making sure I’m prepared for every single fight.”
Vargas also has nothing but good to say about the men who guide his career. “Richard Roman,” he says, “one of the main guys who has always been there for me since I was 13 years old.” Vargas likewise has nothing but good to say about Gary Jonas. “He got me signed with Top Rank Promotions,” Vargas points out. “He’s the guy who got me 4 and 5 and 0.” With such support, the 20 year old feels like the future is his. “I see myself with a world title in about two years,” he says, adding that “I will always stay humble.”
“Boxing,” he claims, “is my passion.”