The National Italian American Sports Hall (“NIASHF”) has announced its plans to erect a statue honoring Tony DeMarco, former Welterweight Boxing Champion of the World, to be located at DeMarco’s birthplace, neighborhood and longtime home in Boston’s historic North End.
NIASHF is hosting a fundraiser November 3 at Anthony’s of Malden in order to help defray the cost of the statue. The event will commence at 6 PM/ET with a cocktail hour, followed by a sit-down dinner as well as entertainment by Frank Sinatra-style singer George Lyons, comedian David Russo and celebrity impersonator Joey Voices.
Tickets for the event, priced at $100.00 (tables of 10 available for $1000.00), by calling Bill Spadafora at 781.858.8998 or Pamela Modugno at 781.956.7441. Donations towards the DeMarco statue may be sent to (checks payable to “NIASHF”) the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, New England Chapter, P.O. Box 130134, Boston, MA 02113.
The 79-year-old DeMarco (58-12-1, 32 KOs), born Leonardo Liotta, defeated the top welterweights of his era (1948-1962), including Kid Gavilan, Paddy DeMarco (no relations), Teddy Davis, Larry Boardman, Bud Smith, George Araujo, Chico Vejar and Don Jordan. Only a short walk from his North End home, DeMarco captured the World Welterweight title on April 1, 1955 at the Boston Garden, stopping Johnny Saxton (46-3-2) in the 14th round.
DeMarco is best remembered for his two 1955 classic, world championship showdowns with Carmen Basilio in toe-to-toe, fan-friendly slugfests. Basilio won both title fights by identical 12th round technical knockouts, but the November 30 fight was named the 1955 Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine, and to this day is considered by many as the best welterweight title fight of all-time.
DeMarco’s legacy remains an undying part of Boston’s sports history. Tony sold-out the old Boston Garden on many occasions, breaking attendance records, and the City of Boston named a street after him in the North End. He is a National Italian American Hall of Fame inductee.
The life-sized statue of DeMarco will depict an action pose from one of his many memorable fights, exhibiting his fury and popular “ready-to-knock-you-out” punching pose.
The statue is being created by Harry Weber, of Missouri, whose works include statues of two other legendary Boston athletes, Bobby Orr and Doug Flutie.