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Wilder has eight kids to four women… but says starting boxing wasn’t even his best decision ahead of Fury fight

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.

The Bronze Bomber defends his WBC title in a highly-anticipated rematch against Tyson Fury in Las Vegas next Saturday as he aims to strengthen his legacy amongst the greats of the sport.

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, and now stands on the verge of greatness if he can knock out Fury.

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.

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."

Deontay Wilder

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the champ said: “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.

Wilder said: “Doctors can do all that studying and acquire all that knowledge.

“But what they cannot account for is a miracle. The miracle that is our Naieya.

“She's not just walking, she's running. She's not only going to school, she's one of smartest girls in her class. So clever. So intelligent.

“The experience with her matured me early. Seeing her overcome adversity so many times inspired me to do the same.

“Even before she was born she taught me the importance of always making the right decisions.

“She's such a bright spark lighting up my life, as are all my children with their different characters and personalities. I love them all.”

Wilder is now with Telli Swift, his fiancee who will soon become his second wife, and seems to have never been happier with his life.

But despite all the fame and fortune he has accumulated from his fists, he will never forget his days working in his local International House Of Pancakes fast food restaurant as he attempted to boost his family’s income before stepping in the ring.

He added: “We were always struggling to make ends meet. Living from pay cheque to pay cheque. So I got a job as a server at the local IHOP.

“I used to make pretty good tips. I always kept my station spotless clean. At first people thought I must be a basketball or football player and talked to me about sports.

“Then they wouldn't sit at any tables but mine and they would tell me very personal things about their lives.

“For some reason they clung to me. It became like having another large family.

“I got my social skills from my mother. She loved talking to people and like her I'm happy to meet people.

“I don't think I'm better than anyone because I'm the world champion and I've got millions in the bank.

“I'm still like everyone else. I had to fight my way up. I always know the price of milk. I'm a people person and I won't let anyone take real life away from me. No-one.”

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