He picked up his first pair of boxing gloves at 6.
Now, 17 years later, Bellport’s Alex Vargas has signed his first professional contract.
“It was just something in me,” said the 23-year-old fighter who went pro last month, “I just fell in love with it as a kid.”
One of his fondest memories came from seeing pro bouts on television with his father.
“I remember watching Floyd Mayweather and all of Mike Tyson fights,” recalled Alex. “Tyson was my favorite fighter.”
He also remembers mimicking those Tyson trademark hooks in his basement while sparring with his father.
“As a dad, it’s very hard to see your son fight, however he’s always wanted to do this,” said Alex’s father, Mike, who is now a boxing instructor at Finest Fitness in Patchogue.
Alex actually lost his first organized match at 8 years old.
“I fought wild, there was no technique,” remembered Alex. “I was crying after I lost that decision.”
But he kept at it, training day-after-day.
Later, at 17, Alex was on the biggest stage for an amateur boxing career: in the Barclays Center at the New York Daily News Golden Gloves.
At 165 pounds, he fought his way to gold, finishing in first place. (Video highlights below.)
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After that, he stepped away from boxing for four years, while he pursued his college degree in teaching English as a second language. It was a contingency from dad.
“I told him I will support him 100 percent as long as he gets his college degree first,” said Mike.
And he did just that.
After graduating from SUNY Cortland, Alex was right back in the ring. But this time at a weight of 147 pounds.
He also recently fought in the “The Road to MSG” tournament, where he placed second.
His biggest win came in that tournament when he had to fight Italian boxer Christian Cangelosi, who trained with former pro boxer and two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi.
“I remember the hype before the fight,” said Alex. “They said he was going to win the whole tournament and they didn’t give me any shot.”
Alex won the fight by split-decision.
After the tournament, Alex had his dreams realized when he inked a contract with boxing agent Nick Garone in May.
“I am just excited I have been waiting to turn pro for a while,” said Alex.
” I can’t wait to get in the ring and show people what I can do.”
Top: Alex Vargas fighting in the finals at the 2018 Road to MSG boxing tournament. (courtesy photo)