Tuscaloosa unveils statue of Deontay Wilder Wednesday

By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Drew Pavan

The city of Tuscaloosa unveiled a new statue honoring Tuscaloosa native and former World Boxing Champion Deontay Wilder on Wednesday.

Wilder graduated from Central High School, where he played basketball and football.

The Bronze Bomber didn’t take up boxing until he was 19. Under the guidance of local trainer Jay Deas, Wilder became a rising star in the sport of boxing. In the 2008 Olympic Games Wilder earned the Bronze medal in the Heavyweight division and the Bronze Bomber nickname.

On Jan. 15, 2015, Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight Championship of the World. He held the title until February 2020, when he lost it to Tyson Fury.

The statue was created by Tuscaloosa artist Caleb O’Connor, who’s created other pieces of art for the city including the statue of Minerva at Manderson Landing. His latest work is located just outside the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports building on Jack Warner Parkway.

“No matter how far or short I went in other countries, when they talk about Deontay Wilder, they know Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” said Wilder. “I’ve always represented (Tuscaloosa) and still do to this day. This is my home and I feel like there’s no other place to say it: I’m going home.”

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