Former Cuban Olympic heavyweight star Robert Alfonso is setting his sights on breakthrough fights in 2019. Alfonso (18-0, 8 KOs) beat veteran Ray Austin recently at the Alabama Hall of Fame show in Tuscaloosa, an event attended by WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Evander Holyfield and Earnie Shavers.
“My goal is to be the first Cuban heavyweight champion of the world,” said Alfonso.
His storied amateur career included 264 fights with 230 victories, including an 8:4 decision over Oscar Rivas to win the Pan Am gold medal in 2007 and a 9:1 win over American Michael Hunter to qualify for the 2008 Beijing games, where he lost 3:5 to Ukrainian Vyachaslav Glazkov and failed to medal.
Alfonso immigrated to the United States in 2012 to begin his professional career. After his manager Sy Stern passed away, Alfonso went a year without fighting. A stint as a sparring partner in camp with Deontay Wilder proved fateful, as Alfonso connected with Wilder’s manager/trainer Jay Deas, who agreed to manage and co-train the 6’5″ 260 pounder.
“He worked very hard in camp and told me about his situation, so I decided to help him see how far he could go,” said Deas. “Now here we are, two and a half years later and he’s had 12 fights with us, won them all and looking to make a big move.”
Alfonso is already a 10-round fighter and nine of his last ten opponents have had winning records. A bout against 21-0-2 Justin Jones in September fell apart due to an injury Jones sustained.
At first based in Miami, Alfonso now lives in Dallas with his wife and daughter. He splits his training between Maple Avenue Gym in Dallas and New Era Boxing gym in Northport, Alabama, which is Wilder’s home gym. His training team consists of Deas, Damarius Hill (also of Team Wilder) and Tony Benton.
“I’ve got a good team. We are working hard to make this a big year. All I need is an opportunity to show what I can do,” said Alfonso.