The deciding moment for Antonio DeMarco to take his destiny in his hands was the morning as a young teenager when he awoke to find his mother crying at the kitchen table. That day there wasn't a morsel to eat at the DeMarco home and Antonio understood that it was time to grow up and contribute to their humble household. Determined not to be a burden on his parents and hoping to be able to help them get out of the poverty that had so savagely taken ahold, DeMarco, at the tender age of fourteen, embarked with just a backpack over his shoulder on a journey that would lead him to one day capture the WBC lightweight title and realize one of his wildest dreams.
DeMarco first traveled to Mexico City where he would try his luck not in the ring but on a soccer field. When that plan didn't bear any fruit, destiny grabbed ahold and led DeMarco to Tijuana, Mexico. Since his grandfather and an uncle had been Mexican national middleweight champs, it was only logical that DeMarco would try his luck with a pair of gloves strapped onto his hands. It was precisely his uncle, Everardo "Flash" Armenta, who took DeMarco to Tijuana and left him with more than capable hands. DeMarco was not only welcomed into the home of his trainer Romulo Quirarte, fed and clothed, but was eventually also accepted into the family when DeMarco married Quirarte's granddaughter, Tania. DeMarco is the son-in-law of two-time world champion of Raul "Jibaro" Perez.
Now, twelve years later, the twenty-six year old DeMarco (26-2-1, 19KOs) returns to his hometown of Los Mochis as a world champion having captured the vacant green and gold belt last October with one of the most memorable finishes in recent memory when he stopped two-time world champion Jorge Linares in the eleventh round. DeMarco will defend his title for the first time versus fellow Mexican Miguel "Mickey" Roman (37-9, 28KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, at the Polideportivo Centenario on Saturday, March 17th. The twelve round championship bout will be broadcast live in Mexico by Televisa.
DeMarco on that day when he saw his mother cry:
"You can never forget the tears of your mother. Her tears helped me to take the path set out for me which led to this marvelous moment that I live now. I have to say that even to this day, I can't believe it but I am enjoying to the fullest. It can not be possible that the scrawny kid that left his home that day is now a world champion, I feel very privileged."
On his boxing career:
"What has happened in the last five years is incredible. It seems as if I rubbed a magic genie bottle and he made all my wishes come true. First I headlined on ShoBox and that for me was incredible. Then came the opportunity for the NABO title and after that the interim WBC title versus Alfaro and I won those fights. I then faced Valero and I lost the title but I learned a lot from that fight. It was a loss that taught me more that my wins and it showed me what I was capable of."
On becoming a boxer:
"My mother cried when I left home to come to Tijuana and I had problems with my father when he found out that I wanted to be fighter. Back then I was a kid of fourteen who had a dream and it hurt to leave my family but now that I have my daughter Camila, I understand my parents and I admire them for letting me leave home at such a young age. I am a world champion but that would have never happened if they hadn't let me go."
On the people that helped him in Tijuana:
"God gave me the opportunity and we have won with hard work but it is an achievement that it is not only mine. Not a lot of people know but there are many people that helped me when I first got to Tijuana, that fed me, gave me a place to stay when I arrived to Tijuana with nothing. This opportunity I owe it to the Quirarte family, to the parents of (Juan Pablo) Che-Che Lopez and Marvin Quintero. If somebody deserves this belt, its them because they were the ones that pushed me to get here as well as my daughter Camila. My biggest dream is to be able to send my daughter to school and for her not to have the life that I did. That is why this opportunity to be a champion is also hers."
On fighting in Los Mochis:
"I want to thank Baja Boxing and Mr. Gary Shaw because they are making another one of my dreams come true which is to fight in my hometown of Los Mochis and in front of my people as a world champion. It will be my honor to defend my title in Los Mochis. You don't know how motivated I am since they informed me that the fight would be in Los Mochis. I am going to come out with everything so not to disappoint anybody and I want to dedicate the fight to all the fans of Los Mochis but with out forgetting my beloved Tijuana."
On Miguel "Mickey" Roman:
"Roman is a great fighter, aggressive who is always pushing forward but he is a fighter with virtues and defects just like me."
On the strategy versus Roman:
"We are working on certain things to take away his aggressiveness but to be honest sometimes the tactics you work on in the gym don't work in the ring. That is why the thing that we are going to do most in this fight is give it our all, our heart, our soul, our will to be somebody and the desire to keep being a world champion. That is what is going to help me withstand everything and win the fight."
On Romulo Quirarte:
"Romulo Quirarte is a man that has a lot of experience. He is a wonderful person. God sent him to form good men, more than fighters and world champions. It is an honor for me that he is in my corner or better said, it is a privilege for me to be in his corner. It is a big advantage to have him there. He gives me tranquility and he is able to transmit his experience in a way that makes you feel like you own the ring."
On his strength:
"Everybody sees me as this lanky, skinny kid but I have the hunger to succeed and the will to win at life. That is where my strength and that extra effort comes from. I want to be somebody and leave my mark. I don't want to be somebody just in boxing. If God grants me that, I will gratefully accept it but I am more interested in being a good father, a good husband and a good gym mate. To better myself as a human being is what I am looking for."