December 1 kicks off the festive season in style with the most exciting and intriguing World heavyweight battles in recent times when unbeaten WBC champ Deontay Wilder defends his green belt against former Lineal champion Tyson Fury.
Still relatively unknown by many in his own country, able to walk around the streets of New York unnoticed by most, BBN decided to dig up some interesting facts about the man behind the mask ahead of his mega-fight with 'The Gypsy King':
A young Deontay dreamed of becoming an NFL player as a wide receiver but the birth of his daughter with spina bifida issues forced him to stay nearby and focus on a boxing career instead. He told his daughter, now a teenager, when he started boxing that he would become a world champion and he fulfilled his promise. He has even written a children’s book about it to inspire them to follow their dreams, and has plans to write more books because he loves kids and being a father.
Anything Worth Having…
To support his young family, he worked at IHOP, AI-Three Company (Mercedes company), Red Lobster and Budweiser, whilst working his way up as an amateur boxer. His delivery driving job for Budweiser meant that he had to get up at 5am every morning and lift a thousand cases of beer onto his truck, which he considered to be his early morning workout before hitting the gym later after his shift was over.
Wilder only started boxing in 2005 when he joined Skyy Boxing Gym in Northport, Alabama, aged 20. Just two years later, he beat the favourites to win both the National Golden Gloves and the US Championships and earned a place on the American Olympics team after just 21 bouts!
Wilder’s amateur career finished at an impressive 30-5. His pro career is currently at 40-0 with a whopping 39 KOs, only racking up 123 rounds, which relates to an average of three-rounds per fight. He is 33-years-old, 6ft 7in in height with an 83in reach.
The Bronze Bomber
As an amateur, he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, which led to his nickname becoming ‘The Bronze Bomber’, which Wilder coined from his idol Joe Louis, who was known as ‘The Brown Bomber’.
Deontay ended the longest period of time in the history of American heavyweight boxing without a champion – nine years. He succeeded American heavyweight champions Shannon Briggs (WBO) and Hasim Rahman (WBC) by winning the WBC belt in 2015 on the same day as his idol Muhammed Ali’s birthday – January 17.
He has a fearsome 39 KOs from 40 fights, which is 98% KO ratio, and is a two-time winner of the Premier Boxing Champions Knockout of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017.
History in the Making
He is the 15th longest reigning champion of all-time and has the ninth longest combined and individual title streaks in heavyweight history. He is the 23rd World Boxing Council champion in history, the list beginning in 1963 with Sonny Liston, and is the 5th longest reigning WBC titleholder in history behind Larry Holmes (2,011 days); Vitali Klitschko (1,891); Muhammed Ali (1,841 days); and Lennox Lewis (1,535 days).
Deontay Leshun Wilder has three children – two daughters and a son – with Jessica Scales-Wilder but are now divorced. His new fiancée Telli Swift, with whom he has another child with, was featured on American reality TV show WAGS Atlanta.
Talent Runs in the Family
His younger brother, Marsellos, is also an unbeaten professional boxer operating in the cruiserweight division and has similar traits to his older sibling having knocked out both of his opponents in the first round. The 29-year-old next fights on the undercard of Wilder-Fury on December 1.
Wilder loves a tattoo or two! He likes to inscribe his life stories on his body in ink and even has a tattoo of the WBC title on his thigh.
When his local Coffeyville High School was closed down, Wilder saw it as an opportunity to help the community by turning it into a boxing gym and also gives up his time to help teach the kids.