The newly formed Alabama Boxing Commission has given the first pro-boxer license to Tuscaloosa Olympian, Deontay Wilder. Wilder, a Tuscaloosa native earned a bronze in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"First ever. That's what I've been telling people...stressing ever, capital E-V-E-R...ever," Wilder said about being issued the state's first pro-boxer license.
His trainer, Jay Deas who owns Skyy Boxing in Northport where Wilder practices has been licensed as the first pro-boxing promoter in Alabama. "Tuscaloosa is no stranger to contact sport. We want to bring that to the table. Football is a great thing. Boxing is a great thing to. If you love football, chances are you'll really love boxing," said Deas.
Deontay says he's ready to strap on the gloves already. "I just hate it for my opponent. You know I've gone to their areas. Now, they're in my backyard and they're going to have to fight in my red zone."
Tuscaloosa Tourism promoters say the professional boxing will be a major revenue draw. "Just take a look North of us at Vanderbilt at Memorial Coliseum. Eight-thousand people attended a boxing even there two years ago. And I think when you start looking at the possibility of venues here.," said Don Staley with the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Foundation.
The first professional match is tentatively scheduled for February 19, 2011 at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa.