Millionaire heavyweight champ and father of eight Deontay Wilder is a man who appears to have it all but he insists deciding to lace up the boxing gloves was nowhere near his best decision.
It has been a long journey for the 34-year-old former pancake flipper as he climbed from “struggling to make ends meet” to having the most-feared fist in the business.
Although he may be fearsome inside the ropes, away from the ring he is very much a family man as he looks to provide for his eight kids from four different women.
Wilder had a late start to boxing, taking it up aged 20. But deciding to take up the sport that would transform his life forever is nothing compared to a life-or-death choice he was forced to make while expecting his first daughter.
Wilder and his then-girlfriend Helen Duncan were poor teenagers when they were told their child would be born with spina bifida.
“It had been scary first off to know I had a child on the way. It was even scarier that this tiny being would be coming into the world with a defect.
“I was so young, holding my whole world in my hands. Suddenly I was facing this huge responsibility for a life which would need my enormous care and attention.”
“The doctors told us she would never walk. Told us maybe she would never have a child’s natural ability for learning. They offered us the opportunity to terminate.
“This was the most important decision of my life. To keep her or not to keep her. Thank God I got it right. We just felt she had a right to live.”
Naieye is approaching her 15th birthday next month, and the 6ft 7in Alabama native could not be more delighted with his “miracle” child’s fighting spirit.