Deontay Leshun Wilder (born October 22, 1985 in Tuscaloosa) is a former World Boxing Council world heavyweight champion and United States Amateur Heavyweight Champion national Golden Gloves champion. He was the only American boxer to medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. His nickname, "The Bronze Bomber," was inspired by his third-place finish.
Wilder graduated from Tuscaloosa Central High School in 2004 and dreamed of playing football or basketball for the hometown Crimson Tide, but academic issues forced him to work on his grades at Shelton State Community College. Wilder and his wife, Jessica, had a daughter, Naieya, who was diagnosed with spina bifida. He took a job as a truck driver for Greene Beverage Company to support his new family.
Wilder began to train as a boxer at Jay Deas' Skyy Boxing gym in October 2005 and soon came under the tutelage of trainer Ace Miller of Knoxville, Tennessee. In the 2007 Golden Gloves national championship he defeated cadet world champion Isiah Thomas and David Thompson to reach the finals. There he defeated Quantis Graves and won a 31-15 decision over James Zimmerman.
Also in 2007 he made an impressive showing at the Olympic Trials, besting Graves twice more before winning the competition in 21 bouts. He lost a 20-23 decision to Poland's Krzysztof Zimnoch in that year's world championships.
Wilder began 2008 by defeating Rakhim Chakhiyev in Russia. He qualified for the Olympics by defeating Deivis Julio of Columbia, Jorge Quinones of Ecuador and Rafael Lima of Brazil. During the Olympics he defeated Abdelaziz Toulbini of Algeria and Mohamed Arjaoui of Morocco to reach the semifinal bout in Worker's Indoor Arena in Beijing. There he lost to Clemente Russo of Italy and finished with a Bronze medal.
Wilder, called "The Bronze Bomber" for his Olympic success, is managed by Deas and Shelly Finkel for Golden Boy Promotions. His trainer, Mark Breland, moved to Northport from Brooklyn to work with the fighter. Wilder made his professional debut on the undercard of Jeff Lacy versus Jermain Taylor fight. He fought Ethan Cox and won by technical knock-out in the second round of a four-round bout.
Wilder claimed his first professional title in December 2012, by knocking out Kelvin Price in three rounds to win the WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title in Los Angeles, California. After a March 2014 victory over Malik Scott in Puerto Rico, Wilder entered discussion as a contender for a world heavyweight title.
Wilder's shot at the WBC title came against Haitian Bermane Stiverne on January 17, 2015. He won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds, fighting half the bout with a broken hand. His next fight, a title defense against #15 ranked Eric Molina, was held on June 13, 2015 at Bartow Arena. Wilder knocked Molina out in the 9th round to hold his title. He returned to Birmingham to fight 11th ranked French heavyweight Johann Duhaupas on September 26 at Legacy Arena. That bout went to the 11th round before Wilder was awarded the fight by technical knockout.
Wilder was scheduled to defend his title against top-ranked contender Alexander Povetkin in Moscow on May 21, 2016 for a $4.5 million purse. The bout was canceled when Povetkin tested positive for meldonium. As a metabolic modulator, meldonium was effectively restricted from men's competitions in 2001, but was not specifically banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency until January 1, 2016.
Unable to secure an opportunity to attempt unification of heavyweight championships, Wilder defended his WBC belt against Stiverne, Luis Ortiz, Tyson Fury and Dominic Breazeale. His December 1, 2018 bout with Fury ended in a draw, and in a rematch on February 22, 2020 Wilder's corner threw in the towel in the 7th round after two knockdowns. In post-fight interviews, Wilder blamed the 40-pound costume he wore out of the gate for sapping his leg strength.
Professional bouts (41-1-1)
- November 15, 2008: Def. Ethan Cox (TKO 2-4) at Vanderbilt Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tennessee
- March 6, 2009: Def. Shannon Gray (TKO 1-4) at Trotter Convention Center, Columbus, Mississippi
- March 14, 2009: Def. Richard Greene, Jr (RTD 1-4) at Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
- April 24, 2009: Def. Joseph Rabotte (KO 1-4) at UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois
- May 23, 2009: Def. Charles Brown (KO 1-6) at Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
- June 26, 2009: Def. Kelsey Arnold (KO 1-4) at Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona
- August 14, 2009: Def. Travis Allen (TKO 1-4) at Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona
- November 28, 2009: Def. Jerry Vaughn (KO 1-6) at Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
- April 2, 2010: Def. Tyson Cobb (KO 1-6) at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
- April 30, 2010: Def. Alvaro Morales (TKO 3-6) at Tropicana Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
- July 3, 2010: Def. Dustin Nichols (RTD 1-6) at Club Palace, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- September 25, 2010: Def. Shannon Caudle (KO 1-6) at Fitzgerald's Casino & Hotel, Tunica, Mississippi
- October 15, 2010: Def. Harold Sconiers (TKO 4-6) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California
- December 2, 2010: Def. Dan Sheehan (TKO 1-6) at Hilton Towers Ballroom, Lafayette, Louisiana
- February 19, 2011: Def. DeAndrey Abron (TKO 2-6) at Shelton State Community College
- May 6, 2011: Def. Reggie Pena (TKO 1-6) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California
- June 18, 2011: Def. Damon Reed (KO 2-8) at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
- August 27, 2011: Def. Dominique Alexander (TKO 2-6) at Water Oaks Farm Arena in Tuscaloosa
- November 5, 2011: Def. Daniel Cota (KO 3-8) at Centro de Cancun, Mexico
- November 26, 2011: Def. David Long (KO 1-8) at the U. S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio
- February 25, 2012: Def. Marlon Hayes (TKO 4-8) at the Scottrade Center in Saint Louis, Missouri
- May 26, 2012: Def. Jesse Oltmanns (TKO 1-8) at the Oasis Hotel Complex in Cancun, Mexico
- June 23, 2012: Def. Owen Beck (TKO 3-8) at the Killer Buzz Arena in Tuscaloosa
- August 4, 2012: Def. Kertson Manswell (TKO 1-10) at the Mobile Civic Center Expo Hall in Mobile
- September 8, 2012: Def. Damon McCreary (KO 2-10) at The Hanger in Costa Mesa, California
- December 15, 2012: Def. Kelvin Price (KO 3-1) at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California to win the vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight title
- January 19, 2013: Def. Matthew Greer (KO 2-8) at the Centro de Convenciones in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
- April 27, 2013: Def. Audley Harrison (TKO 1-12) at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England
- August 9, 2013: def. Siarhei Liakhovich (KO 1-10) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, preserving his WBC title
- October 26, 2013: def. Nicolai Firtha (KO 4-10) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, preserving his WBC title
- March 15, 2014: def. Malik Scott (KO 1-12) at the Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
- August 16, 2014: def. Jason Gavern (RTD 4-10) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
- January 17, 2015: def. Bermane Stiverne (UD 12-12) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBC World Heavyweight title.
- June 13, 2015: def. Eric Molina (KO 9-12) at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- September 26, 2015: def. Johann Duhaupas (TKO 11-12) at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- January 16, 2016: def. Artur Szpilka (KO 9-12) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- July 16, 2016: def. Chris Arreola (RTD 8-12) at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
- February 25, 2017: def. Gerald Washington (TKO 5-12) at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
- November 4, 2017: def. Bermane Stiverne (KO 1-12) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- March 3, 2018; def. Luis Ortiz (TKO 10-12) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- December 1, 2018: fought Tyson Fury to a draw (SD 12) at the Stapes Center in Los Angeles, California, retaining his WBC World Heavyweight title
- May 18, 2019: def. Dominic Breazeale (KO 1-12) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, preserving his WBC World Heavyweight title
- February 22, 2020: Fury defeated Wilder (TKO 7-12) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada, taking the WBC World Heavyweight title.
- Coulter, Lucinda (May 6, 2007) "Deontay Wilder wins national Golden Gloves championship." Tuscaloosa News
- Carpenter, Les (August 22, 2010) "Fighting for His Dream, And for His Little Girl." Washington Post
- "Deontay Wilder" (February 13, 2010) Wikipedia - accessed May 1, 2010
- Kausler, Jr, Dan (June 18, 2011) "Deontay Wilder scores knockout in Tuscaloosa bout to stay perfect as a pro boxer." The Birmingham News
- Reeves, D. C. (January 7, 2015) "Tuscaloosa native Deontay Wilder wants to bring home the belt to Alabama." Tuscaloosa News
- Zenor, John (February 27, 2015) "Deontay Wilder hoping to deliver self into boxing history." Associated Press/Tuscaloosa News
- McCalmont, Lucy (September 23, 2015) "Can Deontay Wilder Save Boxing From Floyd Mayweather?" Huffington Post
- Rhoden, William C. (May 16, 2016) "Even Deontay Wilder, an Untainted Boxer, Loses Out in a Doping Scandal." The New York Times
- Farrell, Charles (March 2, 2018) "Boxing Is Going To Get Deontay Wilder-Anthony Joshua If It Has To Fix The Entire Heavyweight Division" Deadspin.com
- Stephenson, Creg (February 24, 2020) "Deontay Wilder blames heavy pre-fight costume for having ‘no legs’ in loss to Tyson Fury." The Birmingham News