Argentina has enjoyed a love affair with the sweet science ever since British sailors brought the Queensbury Rules to the ports of Latin America in the early 1900s. That boxing became so swiftly woven into the fabric of the country is no surprise; for this is a sport that traditionally attracts an underclass of kids toughened by economic and social hardships, eager to fight their way out.
Consequently, Argentines have been treated to some outstanding prizefighters over the years, from flyweight king Pascual Perez to ‘The Untouchable’ 140-pounder Nicolino Locche to middleweight master Carlos Monzon.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of these legends is 22-year-old Agustin Gauto. The 108lbs prospect is only 15 fights into his professional career but already creating a huge buzz amongst fans of the lower weights.
“My boxing dreams are going to seem impossible and magnificent but I want to be a champion in different weight classes,” Gauto told Boxing Social.
“I know that it‘s very complicated but I think it’s possible and, if I keep myself humble with my feet on the ground, I think I can achieve it.”
Like so many in Buenos Aires, Gauto and his family have had to navigate their way through adversity. Their struggles remain one source of the fighter’s inspiration, but having recently discovered that he and his girlfriend are about to become parents, Gauto has never been more determined to succeed.
“I want to give my family a good life, now more than ever. I am going to be a father, so I only think about his future and that I want to give him the life I couldn’t have,” said Gauto (15-0, 10 KOs), who is guided by OR Promotions.
“In my life, many things happened in my family. There were drug addiction problems, but I don’t like to talk about it much. They are things that I prefer not to remember, but I keep them in my mind so as not to go through the same thing ever again.”
Despite the obvious pain from his past, Gauto paints a positive picture of family life growing up in the capital and points to his father Hernan Gauto, a former fighter and his coach, as the catalyst for his journey into boxing.
“There were times when we only had mate cocido [traditional Argentine tea], but we were happy and united, my parents, my two brothers and I,” he reflected.
“I started boxing when I was 14 years old. I had gotten tired of playing soccer while seeing fights and photos of my father boxing. I decided to try it and, when I stepped into the gym for the first time, I fell in love with boxing.”
As an amateur, Gauto was already garnering a fearsome reputation, clocking up an impressive 60-4 record before making the decision to turn pro at the tender age of 19.
“We decided to turn professional because I spent almost five months without a fight. I was so tired of not being able to fight!” he said.
His switch to the paid ranks has been more than just seamless, with the diminutive Argentine’s style perfectly suited to the pros. Gauto is a lithe and powerful operator, exhibiting slick footwork as a creative in-fighter whilst being equally comfortable boxing on the back foot. Though assured defensively, it’s his athleticism in attack that draws the eye, evident from his withering left hook to the liver and brutal right hand, all executed at breakneck speed. It’s no wonder he’s being mentioned alongside the likes of Israil Madrimov and Jaron Ennis as one of world boxing’s top prospects.
“I think my style would be defined as someone who likes to hit without being hit, but when it comes to a war I can bring it!” he laughed.
“I always watched the fights of Roy Jones Jr, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns among others,” he continued. “My nickname is ‘El Avion’ [‘The Plane’]. It was given to me by a colleague who I met early in my amateur career. He was going to turn professional and after several years we started sparring again. Obviously, I had improved and he gave me that nickname because of my speed.”
So rapid and impressive has been his progress that Gauto is already ranked No.1 by the WBO at light-flyweight, meaning that a fight with the organisation’s current champion, Mexico’s Elwin Soto, could be just around the corner.
“I think my time is going to come but that only depends on me continuing to work hard. I shouldn’t rush, just work hard.” said Gauto, remaining wise beyond his years and philosophical about the journey ahead.
“I would like to fight any of the champions. They are all great fighters. Without a doubt, any champion that I have to fight will be very tough. All champions have my respect, it is not easy to become a world champion. We are always discussing with my team the possibility of a big fight. I want to test myself to see if I am at that level. If I’m not, I am going to work to get there.”
All indications are that this promising young talent is more than capable of reaching the heights he’s aiming for, in a weight class already rich with talent. Agustin Gauto is ready for take off.
Main image: OR Promotions.