Marc Castro is a Fresno State kinesiology major with a secret. But he doesn’t hide it.
Aside from being a student, Castro is an internationally-known boxer, with world championship titles to prove it.
“My biggest accomplishments [are] winning the junior world championships in 2015, which is the best 15-16-year-olds in the world, and then 2016, winning the youth world championships, the best 17-18-year-olds in the world,” Castro said. “So I’m the second American to ever have back-to-back junior and youth world championships.”
The 18-year-old boxer has traveled around the world to destinations such as Saint Petersburg, Russia, winning gold medals, all while balancing life as a student.
“It’s pretty difficult because I was in high school last year; it was pretty different than college,” Castro said. “But at the same time, [in] college you can make your own schedule so that’s what I do, and I’m happy to be at Fresno State.”
This semester, Castro takes online courses, making it easier for him to travel and go to tournaments, which was an issue for him during his first semester as a freshman.
With the leeway that his current schedule gives him, Castro is able to focus on his main goal: the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“I’m on Team USA right now. We go to international competitions. We’re fighting against the top athletes,” Castro said. “So it’s just going to be the same guys in a couple years, so you just got to get experience and just be ready.”
Inside of his bedroom, he has rows of photographs of previous boxing Olympians, such as Muhammad Ali, as a reminder of his ultimate goal.
“Once I make the Olympics, my photo could be put up there as well,” Castro said.
Castro’s start with boxing began with his father, Tony Castro, who was a boxer as well.
“He was in soccer before, and what I see is that he works hard, and soccer is a team sport, and if not everybody puts out the same effort, you’re not going to get the same result that you expected,” the older Castro said. “That’s when I see in him that he’ll be good in a one-on-one sport, because he puts all the effort into it.”
Along with his father, the rest of Castro’s family is just as involved in his career as a boxer.
“My family’s everything in my boxing career, from my mom, to my sisters, to my dad who’s my trainer. So it’s just family [oriented] boxing, and I feel like it’s always gonna be that way,” Castro said.
Castro trains nearly every day, starting in the early hours of the morning.
“Right now it’s wake up like at 4:30 a.m., go train strength and conditioning at 5 o’clock and that’ll last until like around 6:30, come back home at 7 and rest, and then probably go run,” Castro said.
Occasionally, Castro will spar with another boxer such as professional fighter Efren Lopez, who he has known since childhood, while training.
“Marc is a two-time world champion. There’s not many people who have ever actually achieved that level of being considered a world champion,” Lopez said. “He’s a tough kid, so you better watch out for him.”
For the older Castro, he did not expect this for his son.
“I never dreamed to have a world champion at my house, and I got a two-time world champion,” the older Castro said. “But it’s just the beginning, and with what he’s doing right now, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna get the gold medal in the Olympics [in] 2020.”