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Deontay Wilder reveals his favourite boxing memory – and why it ISN'T anything inside the ring, as he hails impact of his eldest daughter Naieya, who was born with spina bifida, ahead of Saudi 'Day of Reckoning'

  • Deontay Wilder stopped to chat to Mail Sport on the red carpet in Riyadh 
  • He had a very specific answer when asked for his favourite memory in boxing 
  • Deontay Wilder will keep Anthony Joshua super-fight ON by beating Joseph Parker – The Hook 

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Deontay Wilder‘s favourite memory in boxing is not any of the mega-punches thrown or the belts he has gone on to put round his waist.

Instead, the Bronze Bomber’s most prized memory since being in the sport is a conversation he had with his eldest daughter Naieya when she was just one years old.

Naieya was born with a condition called spina bifida – it is a disorder whereby kids have holes in their spine – and her doctors had said she would never walk in her life. 

Knowing the difficult road ahead for the entire family, Wilder made a promise to his daughter that he would make sure she always had everything she needed, and to do that he would become a world champion in boxing.  

‘I looked at her, because at that time in my life I didn’t know what was going to go on, what direction my life would take, because I wanted to be a professional athlete and football (American Football) and basketball was my thing because of the city that I come from,’ Wilder told Mail Sport from Saudi Arabia. 

Deontay Wilder's message to his daughter Naieya (pictured with her dad in 2015) when she was only one years old is the Bronze Bomber's favourite memory since taking up boxing

Deontay Wilder’s message to his daughter Naieya (pictured with her dad in 2015) when she was only one years old is the Bronze Bomber’s favourite memory since taking up boxing

‘I never thought about boxing in my life to participate in. 

‘But when the opportunity came about and I saw a way to provide for my family, especially my daughter at that moment in time, I looked her in her eyes and I said, “Daddy will be a world champion and I’ll be able to support you beyond belief” and I did it. 

‘I come from a world of unfulfilled promises. When someone promises they will do something and they don’t do it… I’m 37 years old and some of these promises I’m still waiting on! 

Wilder was quizzed on his most special memory in boxing when speaking to Mail Sport

Wilder was quizzed on his most special memory in boxing when speaking to Mail Sport

Wilder was quizzed on his most special memory in boxing when speaking to Mail Sport 

‘When I say something to my children it’s that “Daddy means what he says”. Sometimes things happen in life whereby you can’t get to it at that moment in time, but they know that I can rewind at some time, go back and say “you ready?” 

‘The memory I will always cherish dear to my heart is promising my daughter that I would be world champion.’ 

Despite the bleak initial diagnosis, his eldest daughter has learned how to walk and can even cartwheel having undergone extensive surgery in her younger years.

She is now 15 years old. 

Wilder will want to once again make her and her siblings proud when he takes to the ring this weekend against Joseph Parker.

Wilder is not caught up with pre-fight superstititions, but he is confident he can hold up his end of the bargain and win in order to bring a super fight with Anthony Joshua, who is fighting on the same card this weekend, a step closer.  

‘Day of Reckoning’, Saturday 23rd December, as part of Riyadh Season will be available live on DAZN and TNT Sports Box Office. For info on how to watch visit www.dayofreckoning.co.uk.

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