On this day in Alabama history: Boxer Deontay Wilder was born

On this day in Alabama history: Boxer Deontay Wilder was born
(Nik Layman / Alabama NewsCenter)

Oct. 22, 1985

Deontay Wilder was born in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 22, 1985.

After graduating from Central High School, Wilder went to Shelton State Community College. He left school the next year to begin paying medical bills for his daughter who was born with spina bifida. Wilder then started training at Northport’s Skyy Boxing Gym.

Wilder, who is 6-feet, 7-inches tall and weighs 217 pounds, quickly took to boxing. He won the gold medal at the National Golden Gloves Tournament and the U.S. Amateur Championships in 2007. Wilder received the bronze medal for heavyweight boxing at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, making him the only American boxer to bring home a medal.

After the Olympics, Wilder began competing professionally. His nickname, “the Bronze Bomber,” is his way of honoring former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, an Alabama native known as the “Brown Bomber.”

Wilder won his first professional title in December 2012 by knocking out Kelvin Price for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas heavyweight title. He beat Haitian-Canadian boxer Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas on Jan. 17, 2015, by unanimous decision, becoming the first American WBC champion in seven years.

Wilder is the third Alabama heavyweight boxing champion. The others were Evander Holyfield of Atmore, who won his final title in 2001, and Louis.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama and Bhamwiki

For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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