Undefeated American Deontay Wilder is excited for the first defense of his heavyweight title in the first world championship fight in his home state. Wilder, who is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will take on Eric Molina for the World Boxing Council heavyweight title on Saturday at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham.
"I'm thankful to everybody who has put together this great event. This is a dream come true for me. When I made my dream to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I wanted to do something to change the Alabama sports landscape,” said Wilder, 29, in the final press conference before the event.
Wilder (33-0-0, 32 knockouts), known as “the Bronze Bomber,” credited his daughter as his inspiration in becoming a heavyweight champion.
"This is my destiny. Once I had my precious daughter, she changed my life forever and she became my motivation to get here. She's the reason I go hard in the gym, she's the reason I carry myself the way I do,” Wilder added.
Molina (23-2-0 17 knockouts), the 33-year-old challenger from Raymondville, Texas, likes his status as the underdog in the scheduled 12-rounder on Saturday and confidently said he’ll grant Wilder a rematch after he steals the heavyweight title from the champion.
"I've dreamed about that moment, I've thought about it since even before I got this fight. I was going to knock someone out and become heavyweight champion of the world. It seemed so real to me in my mind, and when we signed the fight it all came together,” Molina said at the presser.
"Everybody has written me off. I've never been undefeated and I've always been the underdog.”
Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne by a 12-round unanimous decision in January to win the world heavyweight title.