Born in Puerto Rico but raised in the Bronx, NY, Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas came to the United States when he was five years old. Soon after his arrival, Vargas was introduced to the sport, which he would grow to love and eventually want to pursue a career in—boxing. His first surreal encounter with the sport came at the age of eight years old, as he and his mom were watching the annual local Columbus Day Parade taking place in the Bronx, New York. Participating in that parade were fighters from Morris Park’s Boxing Gym. Young Vargas was fascinated at first site, leaving his mother’s side and slipping through the crowd as he ran up to the team in the midst of their stroll through the parade to tap the coach on the shoulder and boldly state “I want to learn how to box.” As if they knew it was meant to be, he continued through the parade walking alongside of them, while his mom witnessed her son find his fate from the sidelines as she followed through the crowd the rest of the way. Vargas has trained at Morris Park Boxing Gym ever since.
Although orthodox by nature, Vargas started training as a southpaw and has remained so. Vargas takes pride in being able to do it all in the ring; he can box and he can brawl. Prior to starting his professional career, he compiled an amateur record of 80 fights, with a total of 72 wins and 8 losses. Highlights from his amateur background include being a four-time Junior Olympics champion, a National Silver Gloves tournament participant in Independence, MO, and fighting oversees in Serbia for the Golden Gloves International Tournament.
Vargas comes from a family of seven, with him being the youngest sibling amongst three older brothers and one sister. Coming from a close knit family was very helpful to him because he was able to focus on boxing with little to no distractions. Growing up in the tough borough of the Bronx usually comes with adversities, but he was able to avoid many mostly because everyone in his neighborhood knew him and his family. Family friends used to tell his father, Tito Vargas, that they saw a future for him in boxing and wanted him to succeed. His dad has played a pivotal role in Vargas’ career, stemming from his desire to provide for his son what he did not have growing up. Tito recollects coming from parents who were drug addicts and being left to be raised by his grandmother who passed away while he was young– leaving him to fend for himself. The young Vargas feels motivated by his dad who is also his trainer, and states his involvement has helped him stay focused, out of the streets, and mature as he dedicates himself to his craft.
To date, Vargas has never taken a break from boxing. His work ethic led him to sparring pros at the age of 13. The reason was so that he improve; it challenged him to get better, hone his skills, set his pace, set up his shots, and place them accurately.
During the summer of 2015, Vargas met Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas who watched him spar at the Mayweather Boxing Club. After liking what he saw in Vargas, Mayweather told a family friend that he would like to sign him, however it didn’t happen at that time. Vargas went on to make his professional on November 6, 2015 in Aguascalientes, Mexico against Jorge de Lara—a bout that led to his first victory by way of KO in the 1st round. His KO winning streak continued for his next three bouts, also in Aguascalientes Mexico. Vargas signed with Mayweather Promotions in May of 2016 and made his 5th in-ring appearance on June 25th, 2016 on the undercard of the Shawn “Showtime” Porter vs. Keith “One-Time” Thurman. That night, Vargas defeated Ryan Picou by a unanimous decision in his first professional match in the United States, and the first under the Mayweather Promotions’ banner.
In the future, Vargas aspires to become WBC World Champion in the 140 and 147 lbs weight divisions. He is determined and does not think anybody will be able to stop him from attaining his goals. Though he has not been back to Puerto Rico since his departure as a child, he is proud to be Puerto Rican and aspires to make his mark in boxing as one of the best from the island. He is using his predecessors like Miguel Cotto and Tito Trinidad as a benchmark, and using Floyd as inspiration to become the best—something he knows is going to take a lot of hard work to achieve.