Turlock has a professional boxer in town and his name is Marco “El Muñeco” Delgado.
Delgado, who is a Turlock High alum and a former wrestler for the Bulldogs, recently became a professional after moving up from amateur about four months prior.
Since turning pro back in November, he is off to a 2-0 start after consecutive victories but he is just getting started and has bigger goals ahead.
“These first fights are just like everything else — hard work and dedication. Expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Always looking for the win,” said Delgado.
Delgado, 25, didn't come to boxing as a youth like other fighters, though he certainly had dreams of entering the ring.
“When I was 7 years old I was out working in a swap meet with my dad,” said Delgado. “I bought a magazine and it had a picture of Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. In that picture they looked like giants and superstars and I wanted to be just like them, but my parents didn't like the idea of boxing and there weren't really any boxing gyms in Turlock so I had to wait until I was 18.”
Delgado then pursued other athletics that also required serious physical skill — football and wrestling.
“My record was about 56-6. I was a California state wrestler in 2009 at the 215-pound weight class,” said Delgado. “I was one match away from getting a medal in state. No place in state, and it still bothers me till this day, but I learned from that failure.”
He did and it only made him better.
“Wrestling was probably one of the most difficult things I have done. The season is long and every week you are competing in team duals and weekend tournaments,” said Delgado. “In between you have practices and trying to make weight. Turlock wrestling taught me how to work hard and never give up.”
He also never gave up on that dream as a young kid. The second Delgado turned 18, he switched to his childhood love of boxing.
Delgado went on to win the California State Golden Gloves at 178-pounds in 2015. His record as an amateur was 24-3.
“Amateurs was just preparation for the pro's,” said Delgado. “I would have liked to compete in more National or International tournaments but it's too expensive. And I started at a later age. Ever since I started boxing the goal has always been to win a world championship.”
He has gone on to win his first two professional bouts in knockout fashion as a Light Heavyweight (175), however, according to trainer Chico Rodriguez he will be making the move to Super Middleweight (168) soon.
The professional debut for Delgado was on Nov. 17, 2016, as he faced Matt Yee out of Sacramento and proved superior, winning via knockout in the fourth round.
“I thought Marco controlled the fight through the first three rounds and then landed a perfect right hand that ended the fight about 15 seconds into the 4th round,” said Rodriguez.
Delgado then went on to fight Las Vegas native Jerhed Fenderson on March 17 from the Doubletree by Marriot in Sacramento.
“We were able to see some video of Fenderson, so we knew he was a fast, athletic guy who had a good jab and liked to fight from a distance,” said Rodriguez. “Throughout our camp we worked on cutting that distance and getting to his body to slow him down some.”
Once Delgado landed a solid body shot, the plan was to cut the ring off and trap him along the ropes according to Rodriguez.
“Marco hits really hard for his size so I was confident if we got him trapped along the ropes or in the corners Marco would land something that could end the fight,” said Rodriguez.
Delgado immediately took control of the fight and began to press, cutting the distance and landing hard body shots that eventually got to Fenderson and nearly took him out in the second, but he survived the round.
Delgado landed a plethora of shots in the third, which was the best round, and finally as the round ended, he landed a left hook that left Fenderson unconscious along the ropes and the ref called the fight.
“About 30 to 40 family and friends made the trip up to Sacramento and when Marco landed the shot they went crazy,” said Rodriguez. “I think being 2-0 is a good start. There's still so much more for him to accomplish but so far he has two fights. Two wins. Two knockouts. One with his right hand...one with his left hand.”
“The goal is always to get that win. I don't know who's next, but Chico always tells me that night of the fight whoever he is, he's going to be in the wrong ring at the wrong time,” Delgado added.
“We're still searching for local sponsors and hope the more exposure he gets, more local business' will get behind him,” Rodriguez added. “I think it's important we stay as active as possible. We're scheduled to be back in Sacramento in June but it's possible we could get a fight between now and then...so for now we'll continue to train. We'll continue to get better. When we get the call to fight, we'll be ready.”