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Ten Things to Know About Deontay Wilder

With fight night almost upon us, here are some interesting fast facts about Tuscaloosa’s undefeated Heavyweight Champion, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.

1. He has spent more than 1,000 hours getting tattoos covering his body, including one of the WBC heavyweight championship belt on his left thigh.

"It's probably been more than 1,000 hours. Tattoos are a hobby for me. I enjoy putting my life story on my body."

2. He has sparred over 50 rounds with Wladimir Klitschko, who holds the WBO, IBF, and WBA titles and is a potential future opponent.

"It was a great experience. I learned a lot of things from him. Overall it was a great camp. One of the best camps I've ever been in.''

3. He worked at IHOP, Red Lobster and Budweiser after dropping out of college to help pay his daughter's medical expenses.

"I went from IHOP, to AI-Three Company (Mercedes company), Red Lobster and Budweiser. The most interesting job was a delivery driver for Budweiser. I was still an amateur boxer. I had to get up at 4:30-5 a.m. every morning and I had to lift multiple amounts of beer. They probably put 1,000 cases of beer on my truck. I considered that a morning workout."

4. He wrote a children's book about winning the heavyweight championship.

"It's more of an inspirational book to let kids know that you have to work hard for whatever you want and can't give up. Don't let peer pressure stop you from accomplishing your goals. I probably will write another children's book, because Iove kids and I love being a father."

5. He financially supports the Coffeyville, Alabma, gym for kids. It's located in one of the schools that the town closed. He also helps teach the kids boxing.

"We saw an opportunity to help Coffeyville out. It started when they closed the Coffeyville High School. A lot of kids had to wake up earlier than they would normally to travel miles and miles to school. The city was getting a bad rap. We did it to bring positivity to a small city. We wanted to bring something to do to the town. We did it to get the kids off the street and give them something to do.

We got with the city and made the high school a gym. We enjoy working with the kids. They were never introduced to boxing. It does our hearts good to see the kids involved in a physical activity and being happy. Who knows? They might become champions one day.''

6. He was one of the athletes chosen to be a model for Ralph Lauren's line of clothing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"They let me model the clothes. I was one of the most handsome 2008 Olympic guys (he laughs). My coach met me one day and told me they wanted me to represent the clothes. I said yes, like I was getting married. It was a great proposal. I didn't get to keep any of the clothes. I took modeling for granted. Getting into it, I thought it would easy. I understand what those guys go through. I respect models. I doubt you'll see me on the runway. That was the beginning and the end of my modeling career.''

7. Wilder is often/always mistaken for NBA superstar LeBron James when he goes out in public.

"All the time. I just smile. When they say I look like him, I politely disagree. The only similarity is our big smiles. I politely exit from that situation.''

8. He won the WBC heavyweight title on January 17, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali (who turned 73 that day).

"That was definitely a special moment for me to do that. Ali is my all-time favorite fighter. I have tapes of him when he was going up in the Olympics. I respect what he's done in the sport. That was such a happy moment for me. With Martin Luther King, Jr. being one of our great civil right leaders, that did my heart good. It was a historical moment for me. How could I have lost that fight? It was once in a lifetime to get a fight on two special people's birthdays. I'm still amazed now.''

9. His grandmother would not allow anyone to spank him because she said he was special and would grow up to do great things.

"She always said I was anointed by God and destined to be great and do great things in the world. She's not alive now to see what I've accomplished. I missed those homemade biscuits, peppermint tea and homemade chicken and dumplings that she used to make.''

10. He punched Bermane Stiverne so hard in the world championship fight that he bent the metal rods in his surgically repaired right hand.

"That is true. Somewhere in the third or the fourth round. I realized it because my hand started going numb. I knew what it was, because I had it happen before. The first time I did it I knocked him out and I didn't have to go through the entire fight. With this one it felt OK during the fight. It just let me know that through adversity anything is possible if you have the will and the mind to accomplish your goal. That's what champions are made of. When you go to battle you're going to do everything you have to do to win. That wasn't the only injury. I had one eye going into the fight. I was handicapped the whole fight. The night before the fight I was stretching with a band. It came off my feet and hit me in the eye. When I woke up the next day I couldn't see anything. Good thing I had my private doctor there. He treated the eye. I was seeing black and white before the fight, but I was already there and I was going to go through with the fight.''

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

 

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