For Fresno State student Marc Castro, one of his biggest dreams was to box in the 2020 Olympics and win the Gold Medal representing the City of Fresno.
He headed to Oxnard, California, in October for the Last Chance Qualifiers tournament for the 2020 Olympics. But the unexpected occurred, and he was forced to withdraw due to an illness.
Prior to the trip to Oxnard, he had been sick with a cold and ended up with food poisoning, which made matters worse during the tournament.
“I am certain I would have won, no doubt,” Castro said. “Even USA Boxing was saying, ‘No one can possibly beat me on my worst day.’”
Introduced to the sport of boxing at an early age, Castro’s passion for the sport grew; and now he is hoping to achieve greatness in it.
Castro, a 20-year-old kinesiology major at Fresno State, has been an amateur boxer since the age of 11 and currently fights for the Team USA Boxing.
His father, Tony Castro, was an amatuer boxer himself, and wanted Marc Castro to follow his footsteps.
“I hated boxing when I barely started,” Marc Castro said. “I hated boxing because it had become a part of my everyday routine since my dad owned a boxing gym.”
After defeating his opponent in his first tournament, Castro realized what he was capable of: conquering without relying on a team.
“Boxing is a sport that I fell in love with. You just learn how to be your own,” Marc Castro said.
Aside from boxing, he loves soccer. As a child, he would tell his father that he would become a professional soccer player instead of a professional boxer.
His father would reply, saying, “No, you will become a professional boxer,” Marc Castro recalled.
As one of only two Americans to become a 2x Amateur World Champion, Castro also won the junior and youth world championships back-to-back.
Castro has won 17 national championships in his career so far, competing against some of the top amateurs in the nation. His daily routine consists of training, resting and school.
For Castro, aside from training hard, he has to be mentally and spiritually prepared before a fight.
“My future goals are to continue to train hard [and] just stay ready for any opportunity that presents itself,” Marc Castro said.
Boxing has taught him many life lessons, such as time management, self discipline and sacrifices.
“[A goal in life] is to inspire kids, showing them that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to something, anything is possible,” Marc Castro said. “Different kids have different dreams. Not all kids are going to be professional athletes, not all kids are going to be actors, comedians.”
Castro recently visited an elementary school and his old high school, speaking to the students about the importance of education.
He advised them to know themselves because every person needs to know and address their strengths and weaknesses accordingly. Once learned, they will know what areas to work on.
As of September, Castro became the fourth boxer to be sponsored by an athletic brand based out of the United Kingdom called GymShark.
“I feel honored and privileged to be working with such a great brand,” Marc Castro said.
For Castro, his father is his role model, teaching him that family and working hard are the most important things.
“In the ring, Marc is a beast,” said Tony Castro. “Off the ring, Marc is a regular humble guy.”
Both, father and son have been excited by the idea of having each other along the way.
“Every memory is the best. It’s hard to choose because without one, that wouldn’t make my son what he is,” Tony Castro said.
For Castro, it is priceless to share every moment with his father.
Before heading to Oxnard, Marc Castro attended ‘Canelo Camp,’ giving him the opportunity to train in the same gym as famous boxer Saul “Canelo” Álvarez and watch Álvarez train within a few feet from him.
Castro had the opportunity to meet him.
“I learned many things [attending this camp]. I learned that the minor details go a long way,” said Marc Castro. “From the way they warm up to the way they cool down, I learned there is no secret to success besides hard work and discipline.”
Castro was recognized by the City Council and Mayor of Fresno with a proclamation and as of this year, Nov. 19 it will be Marc Castro Day in the City of Fresno.
“My family is a big factor in my career. They help me get to this point. I am just the finished product you see in the ring,” Marc Castro said. “I was more happy to see my family together celebrating the day. It gives me extra motivation knowing I have the full city support behind me.”
Castro said that even if your dream does not go the way you anticipated, do not get discouraged because success will come.
“Find your passion and chase it,” Castro said.