Beyond the Ropes: Deontay Wilder

By: Heath Harlem
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The heavyweight division is desperate for a new marquee American Star that can demonstrate exciting knockout power not seen since Mike Tyson ruled the division 25 years ago. That star may just be arriving on the scene and he goes by the name Deontay Wilder (25-0 25 KO). The last member of the Men’s U.S. Olympic team to win a medal (Bronze 2008 Beijing Games), came to boxing later in life than most through nontraditional methods and is on a determined mission to bring the championship belts back to America by the end of 2013.

Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and like many boys his age he grew up with big dreams of playing football for the University of Alabama.  Wilder participated in many team sports and starred in both football and basketball.  Deontay enrolled in a local community college playing both football and basketball working towards a division one scholarship when his girlfriend became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter Naieya.  Naieya was born with Spina Bifida and life would never be the same.

Deontay was forced to grow up quickly to take care of his daughter and provide for her medical care needed.  Wilder who describes himself as a tough street fighter who never started trouble yet always seemed to find it, dropped out of school, gave up his dreams of playing football for the Crimson Tide and traded them in for two jobs. At 21 years of age he was encouraged to check out a local boxing gym ran by Jay Deas (his trainer to this day) and something special was born.

Deontay quickly soaked up all the knowledge Jay could share like a sponge and amateur wins started to follow.  By 2007 he became a national Golden Gloves Champion and qualified for the 2008 Olympics by winning the US National Championship.  The Olympic experience was valuable for the incredibly talented but inexperienced Wilder.  When asked about the experience, Deontay is quick to mention that the moments when Andre Berto and Andre Ward visited camp had a lasting impact on his career.  The “sponge” credits time sparring with Ward during the Olympic camp for showing him what it takes to succeed.  Despite lacking the experience of his teammates, Deontay was the only American to leave Beijing with a Medal.

After the Olympics, Wilder returned to Alabama and to his old coach Jay Deas.  Wilder and Deas added 1984 US Olympic gold medalist Mark Breland to their team, forming the “bomb squad” and the last American to win a Olympic boxing medal began his pro career with a second round Technical Knockout on the under card of Kermit Cintron/Lovemore Ndou card in Nashville, TN.  With Wilder’s power and athleticism, short fights ending with devastating knockouts became the norm.  In less than four years Wilder quickly built a 25-0 record winning every bout by knockout with only two fighters reaching the fourth round.  During this time, Deontay quickly built his reputation as one of the best young heavyweight prospects.

Part of the Golden Boy Promotions roster, Wilder has been following the plan carefully laid out by his trusted advisors, refusing any allow any distractions, including critics, take his eyes off the prize.  With his frame growing, he is now ready to take the next step up in class of competition and will be headlining CBS/Showtime’s Dec 15 night of the Olympians card against an unnamed opponent.  If you ask Wilder who his opponent is going to be, he says he has a name but nothing is signed yet and it will be someone big.  Regardless of who it is, Deontay guarantees it to be a great show. He sees everyone who gets in the ring with him as an obstacle standing in the way of his goal and he simply won’t let anything stand in his way.  When you are given the opportunity to ask Deontay about the self-described mission that he is on to bring the heavy weight titles back to America, you instantly feel the fire fueling his desire.  With a strong team behind him, National Football League athleticism and a desire that is second to none, I wouldn’t be betting against Wilder bringing the titles home.



Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder

2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Heavyweight Division

American Heavyweight Prospect

6’7” Tall

84” Reach

Record 25-0 25 KOs

Hometown-Tuscaloosa, AL

Personal-Married to Jessica Sales-Wilder

Kids Naeiya, Dereon, and Ava

Photo By Miller Mobley

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