WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) was overwhelmed on Thursday, when he traveled to the White House to be a part of a historic moment - as President Donald Trump posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the first African-American to win the heavyweight championship.
Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines “for immoral purposes.” Johnson served nearly a year in prison from 1920-21 on the federal charge. Johnson was 68-years-old when he died in a car crash in North Carolina in 1946.
For the big moment, Wilder was joined by former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, actor Sylvester Stallone, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, and a few others.
For Wilder, it was his second trip to the White House. He was there in the past when capturing a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games.
“To be able to be here at the Oval office in Washington, D.C., and to experience the ultimate pardon of Jack Johnson is amazing,” said Wilder to Premier Boxing Champions.
“Johnson was the first African American heavyweight world champion, so this was definitely a magical moment to remember and one that I never will forget.”
During the event, Wilder was able to chat with Trump about boxing.
Trump is a well-known fight fan, who over the last few decades has been ringside at numerous big-time boxing events. He also hosted numerous events at his casinos in Atlantic City.
According to Wilder, the President gave him words of encouragement to keep the knockout streak going.
“Donald is a huge fan of boxing, was asking me about my next fight and encouraging me to get the knockout,” said Wilder.
“But on this day in history, I am able to say, forevermore, that I was there for yet another historical achievement to take back to my family and my children and the people of Alabama. I’m able to say that I was there when they pardoned Jack Johnson.”