Josue Vargas Secures UD Against Tougher Than Expected Willie Shaw

Josue Vargas had tougher than expected night against Willie Shaw

Josue Vargas
Josue Vargas

Josue Vargas had tougher than expected night against Willie Shaw

Ahead of his latest bout, standout super lightweight prospect Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas (19-1, 9 KO’s) was adamant he was the far superior talent. Once in the ring however, while still dominant, Vargas certainly did not have the carefree night in the office he speculated about. As a result, he earned a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Willie “The Trill” Shaw (13-3, 9 KO’s).

Born in Puerto Rico and now living in the Bronx, New York, Vargas has continued to garner a great deal of attention for himself. Trained by his father, Elario Vargas, the versatile southpaw boxer has proven that he is an up and coming force to watch out for. He ended his amateur career with an impressive record of 72-8 with victories over standout talents such as Shakur Stevenson and Richardson Hitchins. Clearly he is getting used to competing in visible events as this was his seventh consecutive time fighting on an ESPN card. This is not entirely surprising though. Vargas initially signed to, yet ultimately left, Mayweather Promotions before signing up Top Rank promotion.

Two fights ago, he made headlines for both dominating Salvador Briceno and getting two of his teeth hammered out of his mouth. In his very next showing he continued to show his physical brilliance when he outclasses and outpointed Kendo Castaneda. Going into the Shaw bout, he was ranked as the #14 WBO super lightweight in the world. Following the manhandling of Shaw, his standing is sure to improve.


Despite being the heavy underdog, Shaw came out and buzzed Vargas very early in the first round with a stiff, straight left that left him recoiling. While The Prodigy never came close to going down, he would continue to be force-fed lefts and right hooks for the remainder of the period. Vargas had a good recovery round in the second. He remained calm and refocused his attack largely on the body with thumping hooks to the rib cage. This paved the way for him to land some attention getting head shots in the final minute of the period. Neither fighter hurt the other but Vargas had found his equilibrium in the fight.

In the third period, The Prodigy doubled-down on the body attack and really dug in with his hooks. For the first half of the period, he threw a staggering amount of hooks directly followed by an uppercut with the same hand. He threw these to 2-piece combinations with both hands repeatedly. Shaw was landing his occasional hard shots but the tide had officially shifted in Vargas favor. The tempo slowed and actioned more or less evened in the fourth. Here, both men were more content to setup shop behind their jabs.

Just inside the first minute of the fifth, Shaw wobbled The Prodigy with a sneaking, well-timed left hook. Vargas recovered well and quickly went back on the offense. In the final minute of the round, an unintentional low blow from Vargas briefly halted the action as Trill needed a breather. The sixth and seventh were choppier rounds that saw a fair bit of clinching and the fighters leaning on one another. Yet, Vargas was winning the day with his greater output and cleaner shots.


Throughout the eighth period, Willie Shaw fought like a gassing fighter. In response, The Prodigy continued digging to the body. In the ninth, Vargas joined Shaw in looking like he could use a breather. Despite his somewhat lagging energy, he still did more than enough to carry the period. Perhaps he was saving himself for the final period because in the tenth round, Vargas produced high volume offense from start to finish. Yet, neither competitor connected with anything all that devastating.

When the scorecards were read, Josue Vargas won a somewhat predictably wide unanimous decision win. Going forward, it would be good to see The Prodigy settle down a bit in the ring and setup more of his offense rather than attempt to bury his opponent in an avalanche of blows.

By: Bakari Simpson

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