Fresno amateur boxer Marc Castro has his eyes on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
For now the Fresno native hopes to keep adding to his amateur title collection. And he has another chance in the coming days.
Castro, 16, will compete Sunday through July 2 as part of three national tournaments in Dallas. The Junior Olympic, Prep National and Youth Open Championships will be at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
12 National titles won by amateur boxer Marc Castro, a 16-year-old from Fresno
Last weekend in Whittier, the 118-pounder was awarded a World Boxing Council amateur title at the Green Belt Challenge-California.
It continued a run that began with his first big tournament title in 2012 in Oxnard, where he became the Adidas National Champion for his age group.
105-6 Castro’s career amateur record, with his first win coming at age 8
The Sunnyside High School student is a 12-time national champion overall and 105-6 in his amateur career.
In September, Castro was the lone American to win gold at the AIBA Junior Worlds in St. Petersburg, Russia.
His main goal, he said, is to “stay unsatisfied with my accomplishments.”
“Can’t be too bigheaded about myself,” Castro said. “Just stay humble.”
Stay unsatisfied with my accomplishments.
Castro on how he motivates himself to add to his haul of national and international boxing titles
Castro understands word of his national feats gets around in amateur circles, and he’s learned to expect that opponents will raise their game. When one tournament is done, he quickly turns his attention to the next.
“After I win a tournament, I like to stay active,” he said. “Just like to stay on top, because sometimes people wonder, ‘Did (I) get better or did I start declining?’ ”
Castro, nicknamed “Sharkey,” admits boxing wasn’t his first love. It was soccer, but that changed after his father took him to a gym as part of “a daily routine” and the athlete and sport eventually found a fit.
Not that it was easy.
“I used to like soccer way more,” Castro said. “I had to do boxing because my dad used to box and I entered tournaments, and I did well and I kept liking it and I continued boxing … fell in love with boxing. I fell in love with the winning.”
Castro’s first fight was at age 8, and four years later he won his first national tournament title.
After that, he says, “I took it serious.”
Tony Castro keeps his son focused.
“A lot of people get bigheaded because they’re a champion,” he said. “Then you don’t become focused like you’re supposed to be. What I tell him, ‘Where you’re at right now you have to train twice as hard, because they know who you are and they’re training to beat you. In their mind, they have a picture of you on their punching bag.’ ”
Castro’s run to his bantamweight world title last year included a unanimous decision over Czech Republic’s Artur Sachbazjan in the quarterfinals, a first-round technical knockout of Azerbaijan’s Orkhan Hasanov in the semifinals and a 30-27, 30-26, 30-27 unanimous decision over Cuba’s Alexei Rodriguez in the final.
That experience overseas helped Castro better understand international competition, he said.
“Different styles,” he said. “Some techniques you see and some awkward fighters, as well.”
Castro, ranked No. 1 by USA Boxing in the youth men’s bantamweight division (123), will be watching the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. It’s too soon for him to be on that stage, so he’ll root for a U.S. team that has not won Olympic gold since Andre Ward did in 2004.
If that drought continues into 2020, when Castro will be 19, he hopes to be among those in position to end it.
Go to the Olympics and win the gold medal.
Castro on one of his big longer-term goals
“I’d like to go to the Olympics and represent Team USA in Japan,” he said. “Win the gold medal there and after that most likely turn pro.”