O’Shaquie Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) took previously unbeaten former two-division world champion Rey Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) to school on Saturday night, dominating him from start to finish to win a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC 130-lb title in the main event of their fight at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Vargas started too slowly, allowing Foster to pile up a big lead in the first half of the fight. In the second half Vargas rallied a lot, but fell apart at the end and was thoroughly beaten.
The scores were as follows:
Former WBA 140-lb champion Mario Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs) looked like his old self tonight, battering Jovanie Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KOs) at will to score an eighth round TKO in their ten-round co-feature bout.
In the eighth, the 27-year-old Barrios knocked Santiago down with a shot to the midsection.
When Santiago returned to his feet, Barrios went for the finish, ripping powerful shots against his badly hurt opponent, forcing his corner to throw in the towel. The time of the stoppage was at 1:42 of the eighth.
The win for Barrios was his first in three years since his victory over Ryan Karl in 2020. In Barrios’ last two fights, he’d been beaten by Gervonta Davis and Keith Thurman. The money was obviously good for Barrios, but nonetheless, he was no match for either of those two fighters.
In an exciting fight, heavyweight contender Lenier Peró (9-0, 6 KOs) scored an eighth round stoppage victory over Viktor Faust (11-1, 7 KOs) in a scheduled ten-round fight.
The 29-year-old former Cuban amateur star Pero hurt Faust with a powerful body shot in the eighth round, resulting in him turning around to avoid getting hit with a follow-up shot.
The referee Rafael Ramos had no choice but to stop the fight at that point at 2:28 of the eighth. Interestingly, Faust, 30, was ahead on two of the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Faust still performed well despite losing the fight. He’s got the talent to come back from this loss.
Lightweight Claudio Marrero (27-5, 19 KOs) was too much for Gonzalo Fuenzalida (12-2, 3 KOs), dropping him three times en route to a fifth round knockout. Fuenzalida was down once in rounds 3, 4, and 5. The bout was halted at :43 of the fifth.
Undefeated middleweight prospect Eumir Marcial (4-0, 2 KOs) looked sensational tonight in stopping Ricardo Villalba (20-8-1, 8 KOs) with a lightning-fast second-round knockout in a three-knockdown performance.
Marcial dropped Villalba once in the first and two more times in the second. The bout was halted at the :48 mark.
Undefeated heavyweight Dainier Peró (3-0, 2 KOs) outboxed Daniel Zavala (2-2-2, 0 KOs), winning a four-round unanimous decision. Pero showed a lot of promise, controlling the fight with his beautiful combination punching. The scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Junior middleweight David Whitmire (1-0, 1 KOs) wasted no time in destroying Keith Foreman (0-1, 1 NC) by a first round knockout. Whitmire dropped Foreman twice in the round before it was eventually halted.
Preview: Vargas looking to become three-divison champion
“When I was inactive for two years with my leg injury, everyone thought I was done and retired, and then I returned strong and became a champion again,” said Rey Vargas to Showtime Boxing, talking about his inactivity from 2019 to 2021.
“It was a night that I stamped my place in history,” Vargas said about his victory over WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo last year in July at the Alamodome in San Antonio, when he unseated the belt holder in his first defense.
“It’s the result of work, not only by me but my team and my whole family behind me. My family has always been by my side. Good times, bad times, the highs and lows, they’re always here to this day.
“My dad is from Mexico City, and my mom is here from Otumba. When my dad saw the tranquility here in Otumba, he decided to stay. Since then, we’ve lived here in Otumba. The people here observe traditions. I think this is the way it should always be.
“I think this is the same in boxing too. From an early age, my dad taught me how to box. A lot of my fundamentals were passed down to me by my dad,” Vargas said.
“To immediately move up from featherweight and fight for the 130-lb title isn’t common. Being someone who dares to do things that scares others, that’s what motivates me. I don’t want to call it a dream because I plan on making it a reality.
“It excites me because when they mention how many three-division champions there have been, it’s a short list, and adding my name is a record of something great,” said Vargas.
Foster’s coming out party
“The early years of my professional career were pretty tough. I didn’t have a lot of promoters coming after me, being that I came from a small city,” said O’Shaquie Foster. The two losses I suffered earlier in my career it was basically from a lack of focus and a lack of guidance.
After the [Rolando] Chinea fight [in July 2016], I had some disagreements with my promoter, and we ended up falling out. At that point, I didn’t know what my direction was in boxing.
“All I had was the streets. I figured out that I didn’t have too much of a path other than boxing. If I was going to be great, then I needed to push it. I put all my effort and all my focus into boxing.
“Fighting for the championship means the world to me. I’ve always wanted to live up to my potential. I put everything into it. I’ve had my ups and downs, and I feel like it’s time for me to take off,” said Foster.
“Rey Vargas is an interesting fighter. He’s been a champion for several years. It don’t intimidate me. It just motivates me. I’ve had to take a lot of people’s zeros in the last few years.
‘I definitely feel like him moving up to fight me is a mistake, and I feel like it’s my coming out party. I’m going to send him back down to 126 with a loss,” said Foster about Vargas.
Rey Vargas and O’Shaquie Foster will be going at it for the vacant WBC 130-lb title tonight on Showtime in a fight that could lead to a massive unification for the winner later this year against WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete.
Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) and Foster (19-2, 11 KOs) headline on Showtime in a catch that starts at 9:00 p.m. ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. This will be the first attempt at a world title for the Orange, Texas native Foster, and he’s hoping to make the most of it.’