Deontay Wilder, 22, is poised to become one of the stars of the 2008 Olympics. Not only does he possess a big right hand and a killer smile, but he's motivated by a desire to provide for his two-year old daughter, who was born with spina bifida.
Wilder began boxing less than three years ago and already he's the top amateur heavyweight in the United Stated. In 2007, he won the Golden Gloves tournament with only 16 fights under his belt to become the first fighter to ever win that prestigious tournament with less than 20 career bouts.
Motivated by Daughter:
While in high school, Wilder dreamed of becoming either a professional football or basketball player. However, those plans changed in 2005 when his daughter Naieya was born and diagnosed with spina bifida, a developmental birth defect resulting in an incompletely formed spinal cord. Six months after her birth, Wilder decided to focus on boxing in hopes of being able to provide a better life for his daughter. Naieya lives with her mother in Birmingham and is participating in a program for children with hearing, sight and motor skill impairments.
Working Two Jobs to Pay the Bills:
Success in Beijing will launch Wilder towards what could be a financially lucrative pro career ... but amateur boxing doesn't pay the bills. Before moving to Colorado Springs to train full-time with the rest of the U.S. Olympic boxing team, Wilder drove a delivery truck for Budweiser and worked weekends at Red Lobster.
By the Numbers:
- Weight Class: Heavyweight/201 pounds
- Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Birthdate: October 22, 1985
- Height: 6-7
- Weight: 198 pounds
- Began Boxing: October 19, 2005