City to Unveil Statue of Tuscaloosa’s Boxing Champion Deontay Wilder
The city of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports will unveil a statue honoring the Druid City's own legendary heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder later this month.
In a Monday morning press release, the city's director of communications Richard Rush said city staff and TTS will hold a ceremony to unveil the statue on May 25th at 2 p.m.
Wilder has been making Tuscaloosa proud since, as an amateur boxer, he earned a bronze medal in the heavyweight division of the 2008 Olympics, where he earned the nickname "Bronze Bomber."
As a professional fighter, Wilder quickly earned a reputation for having one of the strongest right hands in all of boxing and knocked out every one of his opponents on the way to winning the World Boxing Championship's heavyweight title by decision over Bermane Stiverne in 2015.
Wilder held the title until 2020, when he lost to Tyson Fury by technical knockout. Fury, who previously handed Wilder the only draw of his professional career, still holds the title and defeated Wilder a second time in their third match last October.
The statue commemorating Wilder was created by another Tuscaloosa resident, Caleb O'Connor, who moved here in 2009 to paint the massive murals displayed inside the Federal Courthouse Building downtown.
O'Connor also created the statue of Minerva on display at Manderson Landing on the city's Riverwalk.
“We are excited to unveil this highly anticipated piece of public art featuring the Bronze Bomber – Tuscaloosa’s world-champion boxer – and created by Caleb O’Connor, who has adopted Tuscaloosa as his home and has created many other beautiful pieces in our City,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
“Our organization has long supported Deontay Wilder and his journey to becoming a heavyweight champion. We’re proud of his accomplishments and are thrilled the visitor center will be home to this incredible statue,” said Don Staley, president and CEO of TTS. “His championship title has put our community, Deontay’s hometown, on the map and his statue will pay tribute to that.”
O'Connor and Wilder are both expected to attend the unveiling, which will be open to the public, later this month. The statue will be placed at TTS' visitor center on Jack Warner Parkway.