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American Deontay Wilder on doorstep of heavyweight championship

When the mood strikes him, personable American heavyweight boxing contender Deontay Wilder often yells out "Bomb Squad!"
When the mood strikes him, personable American heavyweight boxing contender Deontay Wilder often yells out "Bomb Squad!"
Scott Heavey, Getty Images

The one thing you can say about Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is that he is a rare breed, an endangered species in this day and age in the sport of boxing – an American heavyweight that can actually fight.

American heavyweight boxing contender Deontay Wilder is nearing a shot at a heavyweight championship title.
Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Take a scan down through the rankings of the top 10 of the division and there is only one other American heavyweight listed besides Wilder and that’s California’s Chris Arreola. Aside from him all the other names are primarily eastern Europeans, Cubans and Russians.

There was a time when the division was dominated by the United States. With heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali at the top, the list of American former champs and contenders once occupied nearly every slot of the top 10.

A Bronze medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Wilder has feasted on a relatively bland diet of fringe contenders since turning pro five and a half years ago. But make no mistake, he is an absolutely explosive puncher with blazing hand speed and athleticism rarely seen in a man his size. With a pristine record of 30-0 with 30 knockouts, no opponent has made it past the fourth round. The endings of his bouts are usually sudden and dramatic. A free-swinging, 225-pound giant he is a towering 6’7” tall with a reach of seven feet. When the bell rings he bolts from his corner like a caged animal and ravenously tears into opponents.

“At the end of the day, whoever they put in front of me, they gotta’ go,” says the well-spoken 28-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama who has a right hand punch that lands with the force of a cannon ball tearing through a wooden deck.

Promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Wilder is a hot commodity. CEO of Golden Boy, Richard Schaefer, claims Wilder is ready for the grab at the brass ring.

“He is a future heavyweight champion of the world,” says Schaefer. “We keep stepping him up in competition and he keeps doing the same thing – knocking them out. He’s nearly at the top of the food chain now and he’s going to be fighting sooner rather than later for a heavyweight title. In our opinion he is the best young heavyweight globally. He will be heavyweight champion of the world.”

Wilder will step into the ring this Saturday night on a card emanating from Bayamon, Puerto Rico against the light punching Malik Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs) a longtime sparring partner of former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. The bout will be televised on Showtime and if you are a boxing fan it is a must see TV event.

Should the athletically gifted Wilder make it by Scott, he is next in line for a title shot against the winner of the May 10 rematch between Canada’s Bermane Stivern and Arreola for the WBC belt recently given up the retired Vitali Klitschko.

It has been nearly seven years since an American has held any version of the heavyweight championship. The double-headed, heavyweight brother monster known as Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have held a vice-like grip on the title belts for years.

But Wilder is sure he will win the championship and dreams about the day it is back in the hands of an American.

“It will be super, it will be grand,” he says with a big smile. “It will be big and almost like electing a president or something. I think about it all the time, you know, me being that guy, to revive heavyweight boxing and the division in America. We are starving for American heavyweights at this point and I’m definitely the man for the job. I’ve got everything that it takes to be a champion and to carry that on. I’m young, I’m handsome, I can fight, and I can talk good. I’ve got a nice personality, I can make you laugh, I can make you mad – I’m all the package.”

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