A favorite son of the North End, former undisputed welterweight champion Tony DeMarco, will be honored with a statue at the corner of Hanover and Cross streets, the gateway to the neighborhood.
DeMarco, 80, grew up on Fleet Street and earned the nickname “The Flame and Fury of Fleet Street” as he fought his way to the very top of his weight division, capturing the coveted belt with his April 1, 1955, defeat of Johnny Saxton at the old Boston Garden.
DeMarco fought eight other world champions in his storied career, and his two fights against Carmen Basilio are considered by many to be among the greatest matches in the history of the sport.
In a statement, the champion expressed humility and gratitude for the honor.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that all of this would happen to me,” he said. “I am very grateful and have been very blessed.”
DeMarco said the placement of the statue at the spot where many visitors enter the North End was especially meaningful.
“This is the neighborhood that I grew up in,” he said. “I have always been greatly supported by friends and family in this neighborhood.”
The statue has been sculpted by Harry Weber, known for his statues of athletes including Bobby Orr and Doug Flutie, and was commissioned by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. It is sponsored by the Privitera Family Charitable Foundation, with the cooperation of the state Department of Transportation.
DeMarco will speak alongside local officials and boxing-world figures at the unveiling of the statue, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 20 at the intersection of Hanover and Cross streets.