DEONTAY WILDER is a ferocious, tattooed predator in the boxing ring – but that wasn't always the case.

The American often flashed a toothy smile as a child, and even at the 2008 Olympics he appeared shy and unassuming in front of the camera.

These days the WBC heavyweight champ is one of the most-feared boxers of all time, undefeated in 43 fights and has THAT rematch against Tyson Fury on February 22 in Las Vegas.

Back in December 2018 the two behemoths drew – though many believe Wilder should have been handed his first ever pro defeat.

Wilder's boxing journey started when he decided to abandon dreams of becoming a basketball star and switched to the noble art.

After dropping out of college and juggling three jobs as he embarked upon becoming a father at the age of 19, Wilder met trainer Jay Deas who put him on his path to stardom.

Unsurprisingly rangy with his 6ft 7ins frame, Wilder was more gangly than powerful.

But his power in those long arms was evident – he reportedly knocked out a pro boxer in his first sparring session.

With an amateur record of 30 wins and five losses, Wilder was picked by Team America for the 2008 Olympics.

Although he won a bronze medal, defeat to Italian Clemente Russo left him with a bronze medal and proved that sometimes boxing skills could defeat one-punch power.

That's what Fury will be hoping is the case in just over a week's time.

Wilder's body appears more sculptured now than when he fought in the heavyweight category at the Olympics.

Deontay Wilder, showing off a LOT less tattoos than he has these days, won a bronze medal at the 2008 GamesCredit: BoxRec

Plus he is now almost completely covered in tattoos on his torso – there were only a select few at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

And the secret is apparently eating mammoth amounts of food. And not lifting weights.

Wilder, who wakes up at 8 o'clock every morning, told “I eat me a good breakfast from pancakes, to Polish sausage, to patty sausage and some good eggs.

“One morning I will eat egg McMuffins and it will rotate throughout breakfast time with that.

“I come back again at 11.30am, eat a nice Alfredo chicken pasta with corn on the cob, maybe have some nice garlic bread toasted alongside that with a protein shake.

“I will also have a protein shake in the morning with the breakfast. 2pm will be a sandwich, you know, maybe ham and cheese, maybe tuna, with two boiled eggs.

“The 5 o'clock [meal] will consist of a Salisbury steak, with mashed potatoes and green beans and I eat a lot of red potatoes; I eat a lot of yams.

“And then a 7.30pm, I have a nice T-Bone steak, some more red potatoes, we might have some squash in there and some green beans.”

For his first pro fight in 2008, a KO win against Ethan Cox, the Bronze Bomber weighed in at 14st 8lbs.

His last fight, yet another KO and the second one he has dished out to Luis Ortiz, Wilder hit the scales at 15st 7lbs.

But that's not surprising as the American has realised he can cram in the calories without hitting that "dad bod" stage just yet.

He insists he is not a great lover of food, so sees it as a means to an end – the end is clearly the power that comes out of his right hand.

The 34-year-old added: “Each day is different, with different meals that come with it. But that mostly sums it up.

“They just feed me the food, I just eat it! My stomach sometimes can be so fat that I have to rub it for hours. I'm not a big eater!

“I'm not one that enjoys food that much – I'm a pizza person. Give me a pizza and a Pepsi and I can survive.”

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