Little Italy’s Tony DeMarco, Boxing Champ Hall of Famer, Dies at 89

By Sebastian Ospina

Tony DeMarco, winner of the world welterweight championship in 1955, the pride and joy of Boston’s Little Italy, died Monday at the age of 89, according to a statement provided to the Boston Globe by the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The Boston brawler passed away at Mass General Hospital with no cause of death reported.

Born Leonard Liotta on January 14, 1932, DeMarco began boxing at 12 and turned pro at 16.

Borrowing the name of a friend, Tony DeMarco, to avoid the legal fighting age of 18, he soon began fighting top lightweights and welterweights of the era including Paddy DeMarco and Teddy Davis.

He gained his well-deserved recognition when he toppled John Saxton via 14th round TKO to become the welterweight champion of the world at Boston Garden.

DeMarco retired in 1962, carrying with him a hefty record of 58-12-1 (with 33 knockouts). Honored with a street name and statue in Boston’s Little Italy, he is admired as one of the most iconic boxers in history.