WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has paid homage to the four boxing legends responsible for helping pave the way for fighters like him.
Former top division rulers ranging from the early boxing days to the late 20th century are on Wilder’s list of special mentions.
‘The Bronzer Bomber’ is currently preparing for his next defense of the title against Dominic Breazeale.
The fight takes place at Barclays Center in New York on Saturday night.
“There has been a long line of great American heavyweight champions who represented our country with pride, strength and honor in the ring,” said Wilder.
“I take the responsibility very seriously to pick up where they left off. I want to continue to show every young fighter who looks up to me, that they one day can be the heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’m a champion of the world. But I represent for the entire country and everyone in it. I’ve fought challengers from all around the world. I’ve known in my mind how important it was to keep this title in the U.S.
“Fighters like Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and more have paved the way for me. Now I’m going to take what they started. I’ll make sure that the heavyweight world championship stays in America for a long time.
“Being the heavyweight champion and holding that title on the American sports landscape is a huge deal.
“There was a time where that person was as well-known as the president. I’m going to keep leaving a path of destruction inside the ring. So that everyone knows I am the one name and one face of the heavyweight division.”
Wilder bids for a 40th career knockout this weekend having dropped each and every opponent faced during his career.
A win for the big-punching American could mean a potential rematch with Tyson Fury later this year.
The pair first fought out an entertaining draw last December and are once again on a collision course.