Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder has successfully defended his WBC world heavyweight championship five times since taking it from Bermane Stiverne via a unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Arena in January 2015. On Saturday, the title defense circuit comes full circle as Wilder will meet Stiverne in the ring once again, this time at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, live on Showtime.
Wilder enters the fight undefeated in his pro career, 38-0 with 37 knockouts. The only opponent he didn’t knock out is Stiverne. As Wilder prepares for his next title defense, he took the time to drop by the CBS Local studios to discuss how he got started in boxing, what it feels like to be the heavyweight champion and more.
Wilder got his start boxing while attending community college in Alabama at age 19. He knew the moment that he stepped into the gym that this was what he wanted to do with his life.
“I had a community college professor that always used to talk about what we wanted to do in our lives,” said Wilder. “I told him that I’m thinking about boxing. He thought it was a great idea, from the simple fact that he always sees me using my hands street-wise. Met up with a guy, went to the gym and when I walked up in there, it was crazy. My ears were ringing, my heart felt … the vibe felt good. And I knew this was it, right here for me. It was my last opportunity to become a professional athlete.”
After beginning his boxing training, Wilder went on to fight at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics for Team USA, earning a bronze medal after falling to eventual silver medalist Clemente Russo of Italy. After tasting success standing on the medal stand in Beijing, Wilder decided to go pro. Early on in his pro career, he made a promise to his daughter.
“I think I came into boxing at the right moment at the right time in my life,” said Wilder. “After the Olympics, I turned pro, and I remember when I knocked my first opponent out. Years later, here I am still at it. The most important thing about it, though, I told my daughter when she was about 1 years old that I would be a world champion. When I told my daughter that, I made sure I kept my word.”
Wilder-Stiverne is the headliner of Saturday’s card that will air live on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. The undercard includes former welterweight champion Shawn Porter facing Adrian Granados, and Sergey Lipinets battling Akihiro Kondo for the junior welterweight title.