Here is an interesting question for you: How many American heavyweight boxers have met The Pope? The answer is just three. Muhammad Ali and Riddick Bowe were the only two to have this distinction until Deontay Wilder joined the elite club.
The WBC World Heavyweight Champion will be facing Tyson Fury on February 22 to defend his title belt. But in a rare moment, the Bronze Bomber had an audience with the leader of Roman Catholic Church during his visit to Vatican City, on the sidelines of his tour of Rome.
But more than the meeting, details of what the boxer learned about the Holy Father were more interesting. It came to light that Pope Francis is quite a boxing fan and has some other interests which are not usually expected in spiritual leaders like him.
"This was an incredible honour and I'm very happy to have met with Pope Francis. I want to thank him for meeting with me. I also want to thank the WBC for arranging the visit and thank the Italian Boxing Federation for hosting me as I visited with the people of Italy.
It has been one of the best experiences of my life. It proves that I plan on being a true heavyweight champion of the world," the heavyweight champion told Premier Boxing Champions. In this meeting, Wilder was accompanied by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.
Wilder occupies a unique position in the boxing world. Not only is he among the best in the world, but he is also Boxer's Representative and Ambassador for Peace – a designation that the WBC champion wants to justify.
Wilder also took to Twitter and revealed some interesting facets of the Pope Francis' personality. "What an honour it was to meet the Pope today. He's truly a remarkable man that represents True Love, Happiness and World Peace for all human race."
Wilder followed it up by writing: "He also enjoys pizza and a huge boxing fan and you know he's a part of the #BombZquad Family Baby. Much love from me Pope Francis and I'm wishing you many, many blessings your way."
Of course, a little benediction from the Holy See would not hurt the American when he faces the 'Gypsy King' next year.