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Deontay was a stellar athlete in high school, who had the opportunity to play college football and basketball; however, his priorities were elsewhere. His first born daughter Naieya was born with spinal bifida and required additional medical care. He worked two jobs to support his family, until he decided he was going to become a professional boxer, and a world champion at that. In 2005 in Alabama, where football trumps boxing, he walked into a gym and started training with his current trainer, Jay Deas.
With just 14 bouts under his belt, Wilder roared through the National Golden Gloves and US Championships in 2007, and he eventually won the Olympic trials with just 21 total amateur bouts. His improbable run continued in this summer’s Beijing Games, where he won two bouts before losing a semifinal decision to Italy’s Clemente Russo. Back home with a Bronze medal in his hand, Wilder got ready for the next chapter of this amazing story, becoming a professional boxer.