Hot topics | Coronavirus pandemic

Tony DeMarco, a boxer from Boston's North End, dies at the age of 89. The former world champion of Bostons north end died at age 91

Tony DeMarco, a boxer from Boston's North End, dies at the age of 89. The former world champion of Bostons north end died at age 91

Tony DeMarco, the boxers pride in Boston's North End and the winner of the 1955 world welterweight championship, died on Monday at the age of 89, according to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Tony DeMarco was one of the standout stars of Hollywood's golden era and provided so many exciting moments during his legendary career, according to Edward Brophy, the International Boxing Hall of Fame'' and boxing hall of fame director. The Hall of Fame offers our sincere condolences to his family and joins the boxing world in mourning his passing, said Johnson.

In his memory, the International Boxing Hall of Fame flew its flags at half-staff.

In his old neighborhood, everyone knew him as Champ.

Leonardo Liotta, DeMarcos real name, was Leonardio, and his family nicknamed him Nardo. He was born on Fleet Street, not far from Boston Garden, and his parents were from Sicily, while his father worked as a cobbler. As a youngster, he worked as slick shoemaker and delivered newspapers. When he first started boxing, il wasnt old enough to compete legally. However, he wasn't about to let his age stop him from launching his boxing career. Tony, a younger boxer, managed to get his amateur boxing license by convincing his friend Tony to allow him to use his name and his baptismal certificate. From that time on, he boxed as Tony DeMarco.

In an interview with the Globe, he said, "Sometimes it becomes confusing." Tony DeMarco is a Tony-DeMarcon. Its been my professional name for so long, it is the same as my real name.

Paddy DeMarco, Teddy Redtop Davis, Chris Christensen, Pat Manzi, and Johnny Saxton, whom he defeated for the welterweight title in 1955, became a professional in 1948 at the age of 16 and went on to defeat many of the top lightweights and wwimweights of that time, including Pad Demarco's father Teddy "Reddy" Davis Jr., Pete "Rod Top" Davies, Chiris Christins, Matt Man

Rip Valenti, DeMarco's manager, recalled the night that Demarco won the world championship.

The night he defeated Saxton for the title,... a man walked from Fleet Street to the Garden, then travelled back home to North End, carrying the belt, said Valenti. Rocky was a film, you know. Tonys life ought to be a movie.

Carmen Basilio of Syracuse, New York, won the title for 69 days before DeMarco won it again. The Rings Fight of the Year would be the result of their highly anticipated rematch at the Boston Garden on Nov. 30, 1955.

In another Globe interview, DeMarco said, I have to agree with those who claim it was the greatest welterweight fight ever. Id love to say, No, it was the night I beat Saxton for the title, because for me that was my career's greatest moment, but it wasn't. That Basilio fight was. I didnt win that night, but they said it was the Fight of the Year, and some people claim it wasn t until the second half. How many guys are in a Fight of the Year? I have to be grateful.

DeMarco retired in 1962 with a record of 58-12-1, with 33 knockouts.

The corner of Hanover Street and Fleet Street was renamed in his honor in 1998 as Tony DeMarco Way. In 2012, a bronze statue depicting DeMarco throwing 'a left hook' was unveiled in the North End. In 2019, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

According to his obituary, his funeral will be held Monday from 2 p.m. to 8 a.M. in the J.S. Waterman-Langone Chapel at 580 Commercial St., Boston. The funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Leonard Church, 320 Hanover St, in Boston. Donations in his memory may be made to The Liotta Family Scholarship and sent to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Massachusetts Chapter, 51 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148.

Emily Sweeney can be contacted at emily.sweeman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.

You may also like: