Wilder shares reason he started boxing and plans to be a journeyman
Wilder announces boxing return following double defeat by Fury
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Deontay Wilder initially got into boxing to become a journeyman before realising he was good enough to be a home fighter, he has revealed. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ took up the sport in order to pay for surgeries for his daughter who was born with Spina Bifida – a defect where a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.
Just over two years after first stepping foot inside a boxing gym back in October 2005, Wilder picked up a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and turned over as a professional the same year. In 2015, he won the WBC heavyweight title against Bermane Stiverne and defended it ten times before eventually dropping the green belt to Tyson Fury in 2020.
As a result of his hard work and the mega paydays he has received over the years, Wilder was able to pay for five surgeries for his daughter who is now defying doctors by being able to walk and even cartwheel on her own.
Speaking about his early career path and his journey into the paid ranks on the Pivot Podcast, Wilder said: “When you get into a boxing ring, you become organized. It’s a structure and a discipline.
“It requires a certain standard to compete and really do it. When I had my first sparring session, I realized that I could be something. The only reason I even went into the gym was to become a journeyman.
“I was doing it due to my daughter having Spina Bifida. It led me to the gym. I thought I could double my money if I made it to the Olympic team. I knew that would help me even more than just going right into the journey as a pro.
“I took that route, made the Olympic team, and medalled in a year and a half. The rest is history from there.”
Wilder recently returned to the ring after a one-year hiatus to knock out former sparring partner Robert Helenius in the first round of their WBC eliminator bout. He is now expected to take on Andy Ruiz Jr in a final eliminator for a shot at Fury’s world title.
According to sanctioning body president Mauricio Sulaimán, the contest will be ordered this week at the annual WBC convention.
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