U.S. Olympic heavyweight boxer Devin Vargas of Toledo is providing occassional reports to The Blade from Greece. With a second-round win in a bout scheduled for 2:31 p.m. today against Viktor Zuyev of Belarus, Vargas will advance to the semifinals and will earn no less than a bronze medal. Here is his account of his thoughts on today's fight, his opponent and the opportunity to win a medal, as told to Blade sports writer Dan Saevig:
I hope everyone in Toledo is watching my fight. I want to hear some noise over here when I win and get into the medal round.
I came here to get a medal. I want gold.
I want the kids and the people in Toledo to know dreams do come true. You want to be the best lawyer, you work at it. You want to be the best fighter, you work at it 110 percent. I've kind of proved the theory that if you work hard, good things will happen, because nothing is handed to you in life.
The first time I saw (Zuyev) was when he came out of the locker room for his fight on Wednesday. He's about my height, maybe a little bit taller with muscles.
I didn't see his fight, I was in the media room doing interviews. He only fought for about 45 seconds. All I have is the 45 seconds on tape. He's just a regular fighter like the guys I've fought in the States. It said on the Internet that he likes to get into slugging matches. Everyone knows me, I'm going to give him a couple of little wars in the fight.
I think if I look as sharp as I did last time, I should be able to take this guy apart. I might not look as good as I did last time, but I'm going to get the W, and that's all that matters.
The support here is really good.
I didn't see my mom and dad until after the fight Wednesday. I did notice on the way to the ring that one of my teammates, lightweight Vincente Escobedo, and his family had a big U.S. flag and a big Mexican flag hanging side-by-side. Vincente and I are the only Mexican-Americans on the team and that was really cool.
I feel great. When I think about what I'm going to do, I think about boxing on my toes. I've been sparring with U.S. Olympic super heavyweight Jason Estrada, who is just as fast, if not a little bit faster, than me. I've sparred with American Olympic middleweight Andre Dirrell, who has probably the fastest hands in the world. I know if I can stay on my toes and slip their punches, I can beat some of the big guys here.
For the first couple of seconds of Wednesday's fight (a 27-7 victory over Morocco's Rachid El Haddak) I bounced around real good, then stayed around a little bit and just threw. I didn't want to show much. I was trying to show them that I'm not as fast as I really am.
I've still got some more tricks in my bag. I'm saving those for the Cuban in the finals.