At the age of 20, Antonio is a sensational prospect at 118 pounds. He is a former elite amateur at the international level, and was named USA Boxing’s “2015 Elite Male Athlete of the Year.” He won gold medals at the 2014 Pan American Youth Championships and 2015 Pan American Games, and represented the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
He made his pro debut on February 24 in Palm Bay, Florida, and won by first-round TKO against Jonathan de la Paz.
Two months later on April 21 in Kissimmee, Florida, he won by first-round TKO against Emilio Rivera.
In his last fight on July 7 in Tampa, Florida, he stepped up to six-round status for the first time and won a unanimous decision against Leonardo Reyes.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: The 20-year-old Vargas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Kissimmee, Florida, and one of the many prospects Top Rank signed out of the Rio de Janeiro Games, turned pro in February and notched first-round knockouts in his first two fights, both of which were scheduled for four rounds.
But Reyes managed to push Vargas the distance in his first scheduled six-round fight.
Nonetheless, Vargas, the way more talented fighter, won handily by shutout. [End Rafael item]
Antonio said, “I’ve been working with my trainer, Tito Ocasio, since I came back from the Olympics. He’s more of a professional-style coach, he’s trained several world champions. I decided to train with him because he’s one of the best professional coaches in Florida right now.
“The gym I go to is his gym. It’s called John 3:16 & 17 Boxing Club in Ocala. The verse is, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
“My style – man, I like to bring the fight! I can box – I can be nice – but I just love to throw punches and let the fans see a good fight.
“My first couple of fights as a pro, if I can, I want to fight at 115, get a little title shot, then move up to 118. But I’m growing. I remember in the amateurs, at the Olympics, making 114 was really hard for me. But if I can’t make 115, I’ll fight at 118 for my first couple of fights.
“I don’t have a nickname. My teammates used to call me ‘No Respect,’ but I didn’t really like it.”