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Published: Saturday, 9/3/2011

Boxing career on line for Vargas

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Devin Vargas is flying to Poland to return to the boxing ring after two years without engaging in a single professional bout.

Vargas (18-1, 7 KOs) will face Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk (22-0, 11 KOs) in one of six undercard matches for a pro boxing event headlined by heavyweight Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) facing Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) on Sept. 10 in Wroclaw, Poland.

Vargas, the Toledo native and 2004 United States Olympic team captain, is attempting to resurrect an inauspicious professional boxing career.

“It’s do or die for him,” said Ray Vargas, Devin’s father, who has spent time serving as his son’s trainer and manager over the years.

With only one loss on his pro record, Vargas has been successful in the ring since becoming a pro fighter shortly after competing in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens, Greece.

However, his time in the ring during a seven-year pro career has been hampered by some nagging injuries, as well as some management issues. He’s averaged just under three fights a year since turning pro. His last time out he lost to Kevin Johnson by TKO in a fight that occurred May 15, 2009.

The elder Vargas said they’ve spent the past six weeks in Toledo and Detroit training for the upcoming overseas bout. Ray believes Devin, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, might be in the best physical shape he’s been in since turning pro.

No longer under contract with any pro boxing management group, the Vargases believe Devin is in good position to draw some attention and interest to what can be considered a comeback bout.

“He’s a free agent right now and if he wins this fight and looks impressive, it’ll open doors for him,” Ray said.

Before leaving for Poland early next week, Devin is scheduled to fire the starting gun and run in the sixth annual Ryan Serber 8K (4.97 miles) race Sunday at the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl. Start time is 9 a.m. for the race, which was established in memory of the former local television anchor who was diagnosed with brain cancer and died in 2006.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.



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