Marsellos Wilder didn’t have the amateur background to prepare him for the professional ranks within the staked cruiserweight division. However, the 30-year-old native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama has the name recognition to make an impact.
Wilder (6-1-1, 2 KOs) is the younger brother of reigning WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder. Like his elder sibling, he took up the sport late, following a college football career at Jackson State University as a wide receiver.
In 2018, the 6’3” Wilder officially made his professional debut a month after his 29th birthday.
By all accounts, that’s an advanced age for a fighter to turn pro and many trainers would rightly recoil from such an assignment. Generally, fighters with extensive amateur backgrounds do well in turning over late, but not those lacking in experience.
Nevertheless, Wilder would take his chances and the results have been a mixed bag thus far with some of the usual ebb and flow that characterises a fighters’ life.
After entering the paid ranks with two first round stoppages, some began to tout Marsellos as the second coming of Deontay. His chiseled physique and crude punching ability certainly reminded you of “The Bronze Bomber” but so too did his awkward stance and leaky defence.
Wilder was then taken the distance in his third outing against David Damore on the undercard of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury in December 2018. He would emerge victorious to keep his undefeated record intact along with elder brother Deontay, who drew with the Brit in the main event later that night.
A shock defeat soon followed at the hands of unheralded journeyman William Deets as he was stopped in the fourth round on the undercard of Keith Thurman vs Josesito Lopez on Premier Boxing Champions card at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn back in January.
Wilder was well ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage having controlled the entire fight and was looking to put his man away when he was caught and dropped hard. He was visibly hurt and could not make it back to his feet before the referee counted him out at 2:35 of the fourth round.
The big upset was all the more painful because Deets had a losing pro record and it all unfolded with Deontay at ringside to cheer his brother on. To his credit, Deets had never been knocked out as a pro in over ten years and took advantage of the younger Wilder’s inexperience.
Unfortunately, the loss derailed his plans to fight on the James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr at the O2 Arena in London the following month. Wilder has never avenged that lone career defeat.
Wilder got back to his winning ways just seven weeks later by dropping and then knocking out Mark Sanchez in the first round on the high profile Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia card in March. He wasted little time in dispatching Sanchez with an array of unanswered power shots while his opponent laid defenceless on the ropes before the action was halted.
However, that victory was short-lived as he was handed a 3-month suspension following a positive drug test after the bout, which changed the outcome to a no contest.
The debacle proved to be a misdemeanour after records obtained from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) revealed that no performance enhancing drugs were involved.
Wilder is now two fights into his comeback since those two setbacks earlier in his pro career. He’s since gained valuable experience having decisioned Tyler Vogel upon his ring return after the suspension and easily defeating Nicoy Clarke in August.
Like his brother, Marsellos trains at the Skyy Boxing Gym in Tulsa and like him, he is confident of becoming a world champion one day. This is probably where their similarities end as the younger Wilder has aspirations of his own and plans to emerge from his brother’s shadow.
That saga continues on November 23rd when Marsellos takes on Dustin Long in a 10-round cruiserweight matchup on the undercard of the Wilder-Ortiz rematch at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.