Report and photos by Felipe Leon
Things are beginning to fall into place for current WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1, 20KOs). With a doting and devoted wife, a fire plug of a five year old daughter and a career on the rise, a night and day difference from ten years ago when he first landed in Tijuana, Baja California, from his hometown of Los Mochis, Sinaloa. Back then, a fourteen-year-old homeless DeMarco was walking the streets of Tijuana in search of a dream and a place to learn the art of boxing. He eventually found it in the home and gym of Romulo Quirarte. His hard luck story has taken center stage since his come from behind win over Jorge Linares last year to capture the title, a fact that gives DeMarco mixed feelings of the media concentrating on his life before boxing.
“I am not going to say that it makes me happy but its part of my life. I think it has been the best part of my life when I was struggling and I hope that they never stop mentioning it because it motivates me to go forward,” the twenty-six year old stated. “It’s like every time they mention it, they hit a button inside of me that makes me react and give more inside the ring or in the gym. It is very good for me to be reminded of those times.”
On Saturday, September 8th, DeMarco will defend his tittle for the second time when he faces tough as nails John Molina (24-1, 19KOs) of Covina, California, in the semi-main event in support of Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. The twelve round bout will be broadcast live by HBO.
In his first defense last March, DeMarco stopped Mickey Roman in five rounds in his hometown of Los Mochis. A bout that marked only the second time that DeMarco performed in front of his hometown, “It was a very special day, for my family, for my team, it is a day that I am never going to forget. My first defense as a world champion and for it to be in my hometown, was very special. Being able to return after leaving twelve years ago with the dream of becoming a world champion and being able to return as such, to be able to give a good fight was something very emotional for me.”
With another bout slated in the horizon that didn’t come to fruition, DeMarco stayed in the gym only after a week and a half vacation from it. Once it was confirmed that Molina would be his foe, DeMarco and team decided to continue the camp but in a measured way.
“All of our camps are completely different. We do different things including trying to fix the mistakes from past fights,” Romulo Quirarte stated seriously. “We have been tweaking some details but the camp has been very complete. He is very professional, very disciplined with his food so we are getting to the fight with out any problems, not physical, technical, tactical, psychological or of weight. He wants to retain his title and he wants to keep growing.”
Quirarte is known to have trained and guided Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Raul “Jibaro” Perez, Manuel “Mantecas” Medina and Juan Jose “Dinamita” Estrada among others to world titles. Quirarte is considered an institution not only in Tijuana where he has been at the helm of the CREA gym but in all of Mexico.
For Quirarte, an extended camp is what was needed to defend the green and gold belt against a fighter as strong and as hungry as John Molina, “He has to be ready for anything. We know that he is a strong fighter who is coming for Tony’s title and because of that he is very dangerous. I think with out disrespecting anybody that Tony has the quality to be able to beat him. We thank him for the opportunity to fight him and our camp has been very tough because we know that he is a very dangerous fighter.”
“He is like all other fighters, a fighter that is hungry. It is like any other fight. He is strong, throws a lot of punches and keeps coming forward,” DeMarco added. “We are prepared for everything that John Molina can bring. Thank God we have acquired a lot of experience and I feel that I am in a great moment right now, physically and mentally. I think there is Antonio DeMarco for a long while and we expect better things to come but first we must pass the test that John Molina represents.”
Knowing the power that Molina possesses in both fists, it would be advantageous for DeMarco to not follow his usual tactic of standing toe to toe with his opponents but for Antonio, he doesn’t see it going any other way, “That all depends on how the fight develops. I can say right now that I am going to go out there and box but once in the ring, one’s pride or something else makes you want to stay in there and exchange punches. I think you already have that in your blood or in your character. I think it is going to be a great fight, we are going give the best of us. The most important thing is for people to get their money’s worth if they attend live or watch it on TV. For the people to see a good fight. Nothing else exists in my mind but to win, I don’t care how I look as long as I win.”
Focused on the task at hand, DeMarco is not swayed by internet rumors that has the winner of his bout with Molina as a possible November opponent for HBO darling Adrien Broner. Although the idea of fighting in such a profile event is something they he has been anxiously waiting for, DeMarco won’t even entertain such event before September 8th.
“I respect my opponent and I respect the sport. It is a beautiful sport and a gentlemen’s sport. I have a lot of respect for John Molina and that is who I am thinking about and September 8th,” DeMarco said sternly. “It would be disrespectful of me to think about another fight or another opponent because it would be as if I thought I was fighting a nobody and John Molina deserves more respect than that because he is a warrior inside the ring and a great fighter. As far as Broner, it is true that he is becoming very popular but everything will come in its due time. If I were to be asked on September 8th when I am leaving the ring after my hand was raised then I would probably answer differently.”