Deontay Wilder prepares for heavyweight defense

Deontay Wilder prepares for heavyweight defense

Deontay Wilder practices in the ring for his upcoming fight against Eric Molina.  Photo courtesy of Marquis Munson

Marquis Munson

“The Bronze Bomber,” so dubbed after his bronze-medal finish at the Beijing Olympics, talked to the media for 15 minutes before working on various in-ring drills with his team that included head trainer Jay Deas. He is preparing for his first title defense since winning the WBC heavyweight title in January against 
Bermane Stiverne.

That night, Wilder became the first American heavyweight champion since 2006 and is set for his first title defense only an hour away from where he 
calls home.

“It feels wonderful,” Wilder said. “We set for a goal to be where we are but we look for bigger and better things. To see where we came from and overtime developed to what we are now it’s all praises to God because He is amazing. The sky is the limit to what we are 
trying to do.”

Wilder is no stranger to fighting in his home state of Alabama. In the beginning of his career, a younger Wilder had to fight through the ranks of the heavyweight division in smaller locations around the Tuscaloosa and Mobile areas including fights at Shelton State Community College, Killer Buzz Arena, and the 
Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.

“We continue to climb the ladder,” Deas said. “We got younger guys that are going to climb that same ladder, it’s just a good situation. We come from the beginning from nothing and built our way up step by step and brick by brick. You can’t say you can’t do it because you are from here because Deontay done it and if he has done it that means that it can be done.”

Wilder opponent Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina, the 6-foot-4 fighter from Raymondville, Texas, has a record of 23-2 with 17 KOs. Molina’s last fight was an eighth round TKO victory over Raphael Zumbano Love at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this past January, the same night Wilder won his WBC heavyweight title.

“He is a tough guy,” Deas said. “He is very strong with his right hand, he is a big guy, does good body work, and he is ranked number nine in the world so we are looking forward to a 
great fight.”

Since his first round knockout loss to Chris Arreola back in 2012, Molina has been on a five fight win streak with his last three ending in TKO victories. He will step in the ring as the underdog, as Wilder not only has the title, but the home field advantage.

“[Molina] is coming into home territory,” Wilder said. “That’s when I perform the best when I’m at home, that’s when I’m comfortable, that’s when I’m the most dangerous when I’m at home. I’m not going to let down my home crowd for someone to come in here and try to take what I worked so hard for.”