The Islip Bulletin SPORTS

Young boxers make their ring debut

Local champion fighter heads successful training facility


Three young boxers from Patchogue—Jefferson Hernandez, 13; brother Ostin Hernandez, 14; and Chris Palaez, 15—competed in their first boxing matches at Vargas Boxing in Deer Park, a cutting-edge, mentorship-focused training facility started by Bellport champ, Alex Vargas and his father, Michael.

“We really look to bring kids to something they can have pride in,” said Michael Vargas about the successful endeavor.

The fight night Vargas Boxing hosted on Saturday, Nov. 12, lasted for over four hours and featured a whopping 16 matches, with fighters from the five boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk, and Connecticut.

There were some fighters from as far away as Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Puerto Rico who wanted to compete, but Michael said that this would be revisited during their spring matchup.

The transformations of the young boxers undergoing Vargas’s program are truly major feats, as Palaez came to the gym at 220 and competed at 158. In his fight against an opponent from Fitness Boxing of Long Island, Palaez won in a unanimous decision. Ostin had actually weighed in at 2 pounds over his weight class and had only an hour to shed the weight by running on a treadmill.

“These boys showed amazing dedication in their training and in their matches,” said Michael, adding, “it’s really a testament to their love of boxing.” In putting together matches, Michael looks towards the records of opponents to determine what would “give the audience a good fight to watch.”

Another factor that set apart the Vargas fighters was how much energy they had after the match. “They weren’t tired at all after boxing because of what good shape they are in.”
In amateur fighting, boxers have three rounds of two minutes each (versus professional boxing, where rounds are three minutes each).

The event went so smoothly that even the doctor assigned to cover the evening, who was dubious of the 16-bout lineup, said it was the “best run” event he had ever been to.

Over 350 people came to watch the fights, with the crowd having to wait to be let in due to overcrowding.


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