Deontay Wilder: The Bronze Bomber of Alabama
When you think of sports in Alabama you automatically think of the University Of Alabama.
Although respected as an academic institution, the University Of Alabama is a powerhouse athletically; particularly the football program. With 17 national championships in their illustrious history, how could you not think of them that way?
With no pro sports franchise’s in Alabama the Crimson Tide are often referred to as the state’s professional team. Given their history of dominance, you’d be hard pressed to argue that sentiment.
However, that notion is starting to change a bit. The crimson tide football program no longer is the only hot commodity sports wise in the state.
The WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder who hails from Tuscaloosa is starting to carve out a name for himself. Wilder started boxing in 2005 when he met Jay Deas, who has been by his side as his manager ever since.
A late bloomer to the combat sport, Wilder complied a 30-5 record as an amateur – winning a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games only three years after entering boxing.
Nine of Wilder’s forty career fights have been in the state of Alabama, with four of them being title defenses. Wilder has proven to be a draw in a state that’s all about football. In his fight with Eric Molina, 9,347 people showed up to see him make his first title defense in Birmingham.
In subsequent fights against Chris Arreola and Gerald Washington, he produced crowds of 11,974 and 12,346 respectively, proving he’s a draw in his home state.
Having covered his fight against Chris Arreola back in 2016, I know firsthand how passionate and supportive Alabamians are of him.
His perfect record, knockout power and charismatic personality are slowly starting to get him the recognition worldwide he’s been seeking. As he continues his rise in competition, the stakes will only get bigger.
His fight with Tyson Fury December 1 will be by far the biggest fight of his career thus far. The stakes are not only high for him as a fighter, but also for Alabama as a sports town.
A win for him is a win for the state as it shows the rest of the world that Alabama is more than just a “football” town.
By: Jerrell Fletcher