Wilder On Meeting Pope: “Humbling”
Deontay Wilder is about to step back into training camp for his February 22nd fight against Tyson Fury for the WBC world heavyweight championship just under two months after he knocked out Luis Ortiz.
In-between retaining his world title and preparing to defend it, Wilder was granted a rare audience with Pope Francis, something Wilder jumped at.
“When I got the call from Mauricio [Sulaiman, WBC President], that was the connection to see the Pope,” Wilder told Boxing Scene. “When they asked us to do that, we decided to make a trip out of it, get a little vacation and a quick turnaround.
“I had a beautiful vacation, we met Pope Francis, it was such a tremendous honor to be there. I got to stand in The Colosseum—man, the whole journey was just checking off bucket list (items).”
“It was such a tremendous honor to talk to him,” Wilder said days before the Christmas holiday. “He’s a big boxing fan as well. It was just incredible to be around so many important people, so many different people and families getting along and interacting even through language barriers.
“It was just so amazing to see. Man, I’m still talking about this trip. Every time I go to another country, the people are so passionate, they embrace you. They lift you up. It’s almost like the opposite back home, where so many egos get in the way and people want to hold you down.”
“Man, I even had the opportunity to meet up with Clemente Russo,” Wilder said of the man he fell to in the medal round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the Alabama fighter earned Bronze. “I can’t lie, it was nice reuniting with him. The whole time there, I was wondering if I would get to see him.”
“That vacation, everything about it was just perfect,” notes Wilder. “Now we back, it’s time to get back in the gym and get ready to add Tyson Fury to my personal highlight reel.”
Report: Boxing Scene