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Rey Vargas Bio
A seven-time amateur National Champion in Mexico, Rey Vargas has become a force in the Super Bantamweight division, not only as its WBC champion but as one of the longest reigning champions in boxing today.
FATHER KNOWS BEST
Rey Vargas experienced humble beginnings growing up in Mexico City but was coaxed into boxing by his first coach and father, Carlos, who instilled a solid fundamental foundation.
“[It] was very difficult for me – no money, but my dad managed to take me to school,” said Vargas to RingTV.com. “I will always thank him. I always loved sports, but boxing is great.”
Vargas went 128-6 as an amateur, capturing seven national championships in Mexico as well as a gold medal in the 2009 Pan-American Championships.
“My dad was a boxer, so I decided to continue,” said Vargas. “I was a national champion seven times and won the Pan-American gold medal.”
Vargas debuted as a pro in April 2010 with a first-round knockout of Claudio Palacios. He would go on to earn stoppages in 15 of his initial 16 victories.
Vargas’ size and skills presented problems his opponents simply couldn’t handle.
Listed at nearly 5-foot-11 and significantly tall for a 122-pounder, Vargas often controls distance and smothers foes as they get close. His versatility is comprised of ranginess, speed, and a penchant for fighting on either the inside or outside.
Vargas sustains pace and rhythm, his piston jabs setting up an economy of combinations that incorporate hooks, overhand rights, crosses and uppercuts.
Vargas stepped up the opposition in 2016, beginning with a February third-round TKO of former title challenger Christian Esquivel. In June he shut out Alexis Bouremia Kabore over 12 and then returned in September to drop former champion Alexander Munoz four times on his way to a fifth-round TKO win.
“I’m in love with my career,” said Vargas. “Now I can pay back my dad and my mom with the money I make. It’s very satisfying.”
Reaching The Pinnacle
Vargas had legendary trainer, Ignacio Beristain, join his father in the corner in advance of his initial world title fight. Beristain has coached Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricardo Lopez and Daniel Zaragoza, among other Mexican greats.
“My father got me into the sport. He was a former boxer and he trained me in camp, but I've had a friendship with 'Don' Nacho for a long time,” said Vargas. “My father guided me throughout my entire amateur career, and I wanted 'Don' Nacho to train me as a professional. Now I have both of them.”
Their first bout together occurred on February 25, 2017, versus Gavin McDonnell in McDonnell’s native UK. On the line was the vacant WBC World Super Bantamweight title.
If Vargas had any trepidations about fighting on enemy ground, it didn’t show. He simply had too much movement for the nearly 5-foot-10 McDonnell of England, who entered at 16-0-2 (4 KOs) but succumbed to a majority decision (117-111, 116-112, 114-114) .
Vargas followed up with a wide unanimous decision over Ronny Rios in his first title defense that August. Then in December, he won a near-shutout unanimous decision over then-undefeated brawler Oscar Negrete.
Vargas fought just won in 2018, a 12-round unanimous decision over Azat Hovhannisyan in May. In February 2019, he took on hammer-fisted Franklin Manzanilla, who dropped Vargas in the second round with a head-swiveling left hook. But Vargas showed his warrior heart, climbing off the canvas to hurt Manzanilla several times and win another wide decision.
In July 2019, Vargas repeated his amateur victory over Kameda (117-110 three times), dropping the Japanese fighter to 36-3 (20 KOs) and ending his five-bout winning streak. Vargas played matador to the bullish, 5-foot-7 ½ “El Mexicanito,” using his jab to steer his opponent into his own arsenal of weapons.
"I have asked for the biggest fights. We are ready to fight the best and defeat all of the champions,” said Vargas. “My plan is to unify the division and then we will consider moving up to featherweight and doing it again.”