There are two statues of famous North Enders in the neighborhood. Colonial patriot Paul Revere is honored in the Prado. And now, there is a bronze of Italian American boxing legend, Tony DeMarco, on the corner of Hanover Street and Cross Street at the gateway to the North End.

The pride of the North End, Tony DeMarco, “The Flame and Fury of Fleet Street,” the former undisputed Welterweight Champion of the World, was on hand to witness the unveiling of his statue on Saturday, October 20th at the site in Boston’s North End.

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Commissioned by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Privitera Family Charitable Foundation, and with the cooperation of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, several speakers declared the Tony DeMarco statue as a fitting tribute to one of the greatest and most beloved athletes ever to come out of the city of Boston.

Created by renowned sculptor Harry Weber, whose body of work includes the iconic Bobby Orr and Doug Flutie statues, the new Tony DeMarco statue pays homage to the man who grew up on Fleet Street in Boston’s North End and won the undisputed Welterweight Championship of the World with his defeat of Johnny Saxton at the Boston Garden on April 1, 1955. His epic battles with Carmen Basilio are considered two of the ten greatest matches in boxing history. Over the course of his very successful career, Tony DeMarco fought eight World Champions.

At 80 years young, Tony DeMarco was both thrilled and humbled by the statue in his honor. He commented, “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that all of this would happen to me. I am very grateful and have been very blessed.” He is particularly pleased that his statue will be placed at the Gateway to the North End as, “This is the neighborhood that I grew up in. I have always been greatly supported by friends and family in this neighborhood.”

Several hundred people attended the ceremonies for the unveiling of the DeMarco statue, where remarks were made by dignitaries and members of the boxing world. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, Tony DeMarco took the podium to speak to his family, friends and fans in attendance.

Photos by Matt Conti. Download and order prints here.

Tony DeMarco poses with his statue and members of the Privitera family and NIASHF President, Bill Spadfora (left).

 

Tony DeMarco poses with his statue and members of the Privitera family.

 

The Italian flag waves at the unveiling of the Tony DeMarco statue. DeMarco stands next to his statue with members of the Privitera and DeMarco families.

 

Tony DeMarco speaks at the unveiling ceremony at the corner of Hanover and Cross Streets.

 

Phil Privitera “takes on” Tony DeMarco.

 

City Council President Stephen Murphy (left) and the North End’s City Councilor Sal LaMattina declare “Tony DeMarco Day” and present a commemoration to the Flame and Fury of Fleet Street, Tony DeMarco.

 

Left to right – Phil Privitera, Consul General of Italy, Guiseppe Pastorelli, Bill Spadafora, Tony DeMarco and Frank Privitera.

 

Tony DeMarco speaks to his fans at the statue unveiling.

 

Members of the Massachusetts State legislature pose present at commendation from the State House to Tony DeMarco.

 

Dignitaries, family and friends surround Tony DeMarco (holding the commemoration papers) at the unveiling.

 

Bill Spadafora waves as Tony DeMarco stands next to his statue with members of the Privitera family.

 

Consul General of Italy, Guiseppe Pastorelli (brown jacket) with Privitera family members in the audience.

 

City Councilors Sal LaMattina (left) and Stephen Murphy present a commemoration from the City of Boston.

 

The Italian flag waves at the unveiling of the Tony DeMarco statue. Demaro stands next to his statue with members of the Privitera family.

 

A large crowd gathers on Cross Street for the unveiling of the Tony DeMarco statue.

 

Bill Spadafora (left), President of the Mass Chapter for the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame unveils the statue with Phil Privatera.

 

Left to right – Phil Privitera, Mass. House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Frank Privitera, Tony DeMarco and Bill Spadafora.

 

Tony DeMarco poses with his statue and members of the Privitera family and NIASHF President, Bill Spadfora (left).

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

“Posing” with Tony DeMarco at the statue unveiling.

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

North End State Representative Aaron Michlewitz speaks at the Tony DeMarco statue unveiling.

 

Francis “Mickey” Roache presents an honorary Boston Police badge to the Flame and Fury of Fleet Street, Tony DeMarco.

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Joe DeNucci at the unveiling ceremony for the Tony DeMarco statue.

 

Phil Privitera (left) and Bill Spadafora.

 

Harry Weber, Sculptor of the Tony DeMarco statue.

 

The VIP tent was full at the Tony DeMarco statue unveiling.

 

Al Valenti, son of famed boxing promoter Rip Valenti.

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Tony DeMarco (left) with State Senator Anthony Petruccelli.

 

The prayer at the Tony DeMarco statue unveiling.

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

Tony DeMarco Statue Unveiling – October 2012

 

The wrapped statue before the unveiling.
Tony DeMarco Statue at Sunset.

Photos by Matt Conti. Download and order prints here.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Matt:

    These photos are fabulous, thank you for the great job you do with North End Waterfront.com.

    Also the Sunset photo of the statue is pretty awesome!

    JR

  2. Great statue and a great tribute to an excellent Sicilian American boxer and athlete.

    Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know the Privitera family, whose name appears four times on the Statue’s plaque. From what I can gather, the Privitera Family Charitable Foundation contributed some of the funds used to erect the statue, but that’s all I know. It seems a bit odd to me that the plaque cites the name of the benefactor three times as much (and significantly more prominently) than the name of the man it was erected to honor.

    Can anyone shed some light on why the name of the benefactor is displayed three times more than the name of the man the statue honors? Or, perhaps, provide examples of other statues where this is the case?

    • The Privatera Family Foundation paid the WHOLE TAB for the statue so if there name is there 50 times who cares? What difference does it make? Without them, this would have taken much longer and Tony DeMarco might not have been around to see his tribute.

      • The Privatera family did a wonderful thing…and then made sure no one would forget that they did it. It makes sense to have their name somewhere on the statue but the statue wasn’t about them it was about Tony. That their name is actually larger than Tony’s on one of the plaques is a disgrace.

  3. It was a great day and these photos are a real tribute to an inspirational man, Tony DeMarco. Congratulations to all who made this happen. Great for the North End!

  4. These are terrific images. The photographs really nailed the spirit of the day and showed what a wonderful guy Tony is.

    A great day for a great community. I was proud to be there.

  5. My Mom and Dad (God rest them) grew up with Tony in the North End. Little Lenny would run to the store for my Nonna. Tony is still a gentleman and still the pride and fury of Fleet St. Congratulations Champ on a beautiful and well deserved honor.

  6. I MET Tony DeMarco when he lived in Phoenix. He was good friends with my Dad, my Dad has past but I had many fond memories of Tony. Always wondered where you went. How proud you have made us locals to have rub elbows with you. If anyone sees or talks to Tony tell him Daffys daughter says hello. And tell him my husband at one time almost faught him. Too funny My husband had no idea who he was. I guess he didn’t see the belt…lol

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