Young, up and coming, American boxing sensation, Deontay Wilder, is currently taking the heavyweight division by storm, with 21 fights, 21 wins and 21 knock outs. Many of you may remember Deontay from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he was the only American boxer to win a medal. Now, with the heavyweight division looking for a new spark, Deontay Wilder looks set for superstardom. We at FansShare were fortunate enough to have Deontay Wilder talk to us about his life up to now and his plans for the future.
FS. What can you tell us about your childhood, growing up?
DW. I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I still live. I played all sports and especially liked football, basketball and track. I never looked for trouble but it always found me, so I got in a lot of fights and got a reputation for being able to fight.
FS. You were the only boxer to win a medal for USA at the 2008 Olympics, what emotions were going through your head at that time?
DW. Just that I had come so far in such a short time. I went from never having had a glove on to being America's only medal winner in boxing in Beijing in under three years. Just a lot of pride and emotions.
FS. Since turning pro, how do you feel your boxing style and technique has developed?
DW. I've calmed down a lot. I see a lot more and pick my shots better. Much more relaxed and patient. Better all around skills.
FS. Who were your boxing inspirations growing up?
DW. I liked Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes and Thomas Hearns.
FS. What made you become a boxer?
DW. I found out I was having a baby and that she would have Spina Bifida, so I quit college where I was going to play basketball and got two jobs to support her. I still had a love of athletics so I decided to try boxing. From the time I walked in the gym I was hooked! My baby is doing great by the way!
FS. What would you be doing if now if you were not a boxer?
DW. I think I would be playing basketball somewhere.
FS. You are currently unbeaten in 21 fights, knocking out every opponent. How long do you think you can continue doing this?
DW. I don't look for knockouts but if they come, they come. I of course would love to win all my fights by knockout. I don't get paid for overtime!
FS. You have not yet been taken past 4 rounds, are you confident you have the fitness to go the distance if required?
DW. We train for 10 and 12 rounds so I’m confident. I've also been in sparring camps with Alonzo Butler, Owen Beck, David Haye, Tomas Adamek, Mike Perez and Kevin Johnson and all those guys will tell you I have good stamina.
FS. What has it been like to work closely with Oscar de la Hoya?
DW. Oscar is cool. We've always got along well and I think he sees big things in the future for me.
FS. Golden Boy Promotions have done a fantastic job at bringing you through the ranks but do you ever get anxious and eager to fight better boxers?
DW. I'm looking to move up the ladder. I'll take on anyone but of course it has to make sense and work financially. A lot of people aren’t aware but the records of my first 21 opponents is better than the records of the first 21 guys that Eddie Chambers, Tony Thompson, Seth Mitchell, Oliver McCall, Michael Grant and so on fought. In other words, my opponents have been as good or better than most of the guys in the American top 10 have fought.
FS. What can you tell us about the team of people that you have around you?
DW. Jay Deas has been with me since my first day in the gym. He owns Skyy Boxing. He's my manager and trainer. Also, my co-manager is Shelly Finkel, who is in the hall of fame and has worked with all the best and now is advisor to the Klitschko’s. Mark Breland works with us as well. As you know he won a gold in 84 and two world titles. My strength coach is Peter Khoury, he's great and we're also working a bit with Russ Anber of Canada for cuts and some training. Good team, everybody is on the same page.
FS. What do you do to relax away from boxing?
DW. I love the beach. I especially like jet skis. I could spend all day out there on one!
FS. How important is family to you?
DW. Family is very important. Without my little girl I might not have come to boxing. I'm married now and have another baby girl named Ava.
FS. We understand that you are interested in being involved in the next heavyweight Prizefighter, is that likely to happen?
DW. I'd love to do it. I talked to Golden Boy about it but I don't know if it’s in their plan. It looks like fun to me.
FS. Would that be when we could next expect to see you in the ring or do you have other plans?
DW. I think I'll be back in the ring in May, maybe in Cancun, Mexico, where I fought before. Great place to be.
FS. How far do you think you are away from taking on one of the Klitschko brothers in a World Title fight?
DW. Golden Boy has told me that we should have a big year this year and be ready to break through next year.
FS. What do you think of the current state of the heavyweight division?
DW. There are some good fighters out there, but i think the division needs me. I can bring excitement. Our friend Emanuel Steward (Wladimir Klitschko's trainer) said that too. He likes knockout puncher’s and thinks I have a great future.
FS. What would you tell any youngster aspiring to become a boxer?
DW. It takes a lot of hard work and it’s not overnight. Stick with it and learn from a good coach. Believe in yourself and go for it!
FS. Which of the Klitschko brothers do you think is better and why?
DW. Vitali. Both are good and you have to respect that they are the heavyweight champs of the world. I think Vitali has a tremendous heart and that’s why I would pick him. I learned long ago, even before I had good skills, that your heart can take you a long way. A man with true heart and desire is hard to beat!
FS. Who do you think would win in a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio?
DW. I gotta go with Floyd. Can't wait to see it and I hope I'm on the same card!
FS. Are there any other up and coming boxers that we should keep our eye out for?
DW. Deontay Wilder...oh, you said OTHER up and coming boxers...let’s see...Deontay Wilder! (laughs)
It is clear to see that Deontay Wilder has a good head on his shoulders and is surrounded by a good team. While he takes his boxing very seriously, he still has a tremendous sense of humour about him and we believe that he is destined for great things in the sport. Remember the name Deontay Wilder, as you will be hearing a lot more about him in the coming year or so.