By Jake Donovan
Al Haymon remains boxing’s answer to the Wizard of Oz.
The low-profile boxing powerbroker has yet another addition to his ever growing stable, having signed unbeaten heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder early Thursday afternoon. The move comes on the heels of Wilder sorting out personal issues while awaiting his next move in the ring.
“I’m super excited,” said Wilder (28-0, 28KO) of the move. “Al is the piece of the puzzle I needed to take me to the next level. I already had a great team in place and now it’s even better.”
Wilder was one of the last pro fighters to sign with legendary Shelly Finkel before the boxing mogul decided to limit his role in the sport. The Alabama native signed with Finkel right out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he served as the lone member of the U.S. Olympic boxing squad to capture a medal when he came home with the bronze in the heavyweight division.
The past four-plus years have been spent under the watchful eye of Finkel and more specifically longtime trainer and co-manager Jay Deas, the latter whom has been with Wilder since he first laced up a pair of gloves.
With Haymon in the fold and Wilder already fighting under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, the sky appears to be the limit for the 6’7” heavyweight.
“This is a great move and positions Deontay well for his future,” said Deas. “The key thing was that we all wanted Al involved. Me and Shelly Finkel are on board like we’ve always been and now with Al Haymon’s drive and energy as adviser all the pieces are in place to do great things.
“There’s nothing like heavyweight boxing and Deontay brings a level of excitement the division hasn’t seen in a long time.”
Wilder is coming off of a first-round knockout of Audley Harrison, last month in England. A second straight road trip was rumored as the American was linked to a June clash with British wild child Dereck Chisora. However, those plans were put on hold as Wilder had to wait out the final verdict of a recent arrest in Las Vegas, which he and his team insist was the result of a misunderstanding with the alleged victim.
It’s possible that such a bout is revisited in the immediate future. The greater likelihood is that he obtains a fight that will better position himself for a future title shot.
“We as a team made the decision to work with Al and I can’t wait to see what’s in store as I work to becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World,” Wilder stated.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox