Toledoan Devin Vargas has advanced to today's finals of the national Police Athletic League Boxing Championships in Kansas City, Mo.
The 19-year-old will meet Francisco Palacios from Miami Lakes, Fla., in the title match of the 201-pound (heavyweight) division.
A 2000 Start High School graduate, Vargas has beaten Palacios, 24, twice already this year, once in the U.S. Challenge and again in the U.S. Championships.
The PAL meet is considered by USA Boxing - the organization which oversees amateur fighting in America - to be one of the three most important tournaments in ranking non-professional boxers. The other two major events are the U.S. Championships and the national Golden Gloves tournament. Fighting out of the Glass City Boxing Club, Vargas is the two-time defending heavyweight champion in the Golden Gloves and is considered to be a leading candidate for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
Vargas advanced to the PAL finals by beating Carlos Ibarra, a member of the Army, based in California, on Monday; Charles Leverette, a Marine from California, on Wednesday, and Jacob Gentry from Kansas on Thursday.
One other Toledo fighter, 15-year-old Billy Townsend, advanced to Thursday's PAL semifinals before losing in the 156-pound (light middleweight) category. Townsend, a student at Libbey High School and a member of the Bullpen Boxing Club, was defeated by New York's Marcus Williams.
Professionally, Vargas' older brother Dallas, 24, won the second fight of his pro career last Friday, scoring a first-round TKO of Floridian Tommy Burns in a super middleweight (168 pounds) bout at Club International in Detroit. Vargas is unbeaten as a pro.