Deontay Wilder: Is This LeBron Look-Alike The Savior Of U.S. Heavyweight Boxing?
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
The heavyweight division of boxing used to be where the biggest, brightest stars shined and where legends were made. Nowadays, the only boxing match that even comes close to generating real interest is the hope of seeing Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Manny Pacquiao.
The heavyweight division is devoid of true stars and 6’7″ Deontay Wilder, 29, is putting in a major bid to restore American pride to the ranks. Hailing from Tuscaloosa, AL, the Bronze Bomber has his eyes set on becoming a champion. Wilder has an impressive 32 knockouts in 32 fights – 18 of the knockouts in the first round – leaving his opponents twitching on the canvas. As a professional, Wilder has yet to see his fights go past the fourth round.
The Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles and an American has not held the heavyweight world title since 2006. The last American to own a portion of world heavyweight crown was Shannon Briggs.
Why is this significant?
John L. Sullivan became the first gloved champion in 1885 and the heavyweight division was dominated by American fighters for more than 100 years in what was the greatest prize in sports interwoven in this country’s fabric.
‘That’s definitely the significance behind it [this world title fight],’ says Wilder. ‘Just bring the belt back. It’s been a long time coming. A lot of Americans have been yearning for an American champion – they want an American champion, they want the excitement.
‘If any fighter in America is up for that job then hands down it’s me. I’ve got everything. I’m the total package – I’m entertaining, I’m exciting, I got charisma and I’ve got that one-punch knockout power, that’s what everyone comes to see.’
On January, 17, 2015 Deontay Wilder will face-off against Haitian-born Canadian WBC champion Bermane Stiverne to begin bringing the belts back to American soil and bring interest back to the ailing heavyweight division. Will Deontay Wilder make the first big step to bringing the unified heavyweight belt back to America? Even more appropriate, it will be Muhammad Ali’s birthday, one of the greatest heavyweight champions.
“This is my time. This is my purpose. I have never been so ready to whup a man in my life,” said Wilder, who knocked out Britain’s Audley Harrison in one round in 2013.
Watch some highlights from this rising star:
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