Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s legacy will be further cemented through the May 25 unveiling of his life-size statue in his hometown Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The statue recognises the rarity of the accomplishments of the Bronze Bomber, according to sculptor Caleb O’Connor.
He gave the insight that the decline of interest within America and boxing correlates to there having been no champions other than Wilder from the States in the last 10 years.
Sculptor Caleb O’Connor said: “One of the most important things I saw in regards to the sculpture is the idea that Deontay needs to be recognised for what he has done.
“We haven’t had an American champion in over 10 years.
“Boxing has lost its popularity in the United States because we haven’t been winning, and finally we have the absolute real deal right here in Tuscaloosa.”
Wilder thanked God for the statue, saying: “I wasn’t even expecting this. That’s why you say God works in mysterious ways.
“I know I’m gonna set a lot of records and I’m gonna break a lot of records along my journey, but this right here, this is something God is giving – not only to me, but to my state and my city.
“I can just see people coming to the state of Alabama, touring the city of Tuscaloosa, looking at the statue.
“This will be something for my children, their children, their children’s children.
“I’m very happy with this project, I’m very excited about it.”
The Bronze Bomber, who’s widely believed to be the hardest puncher in modern boxing history, was always a natural athlete. He turned down the chance to continue his education through playing college football or basketball in hopes of achieving what he has since.
Wilder’s achievements in his boxing career have put his hometown on the map, according to the president of Visit Tuscaloosa advertisement page, and that’s the reasoning behind the awarding of the statue, to pay tribute to that.
The American will be looking to add to his legacy as he will be stepping into the ring again after the WBC president revealed he is ‘looking forward to resuming his boxing career.’
This was not an easy decision for Wilder to make after he was knocked out by Tyson Fury in October’s third fight of their historic trilogy.