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Jose "Chelo" Alonzo Becomes First Hernando County Resident Inducted in Hall of Fame

HERNANDO - A Spring Hill man becomes the first Hernando County resident to be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, going from a hero to his family to an inspiring role model in the community. This is his story...

Jose "Chelo" Alonzo's journey into the world of boxing began with a poignant move from Newark, New Jersey, to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at the age of 7 to live with his uncle and great-grandfather. Driven by familial ties, he soon found himself immersed in a community that initially treated him as an outsider. Chelo says his classmates resented the fact that he was proficient in English and that although he could speak Spanish fluently, he could not read or write the language. Facing constant challenges and daily neighborhood skirmishes, his great-grandfather thought he was just being a troublemaker and told his uncle to send him back to New Jersey or teach him to box. This pivotal moment set the stage for a life defined by resilience and determination.

Chelo relocated to Spring Hill, Florida in 1990 and that's where his path intersected with destiny. His introduction to boxing proved life-changing, catalyzed by a significant win at the Florida State Golden Gloves in 1993. This early success ignited a passion that propelled him towards greater achievements.

In 1998 Chelo gained the support of local newscaster and promoter Henry Rolan. That's when Chelo met the famed Latin trainer, Don Kahn. During their first meeting, Kahn asked, "Why do you want to be a fighter?" Without hesitation, Chelo responded, "Because I want to become a champion."

At just 185 pounds, Kahn told Chelo to get in the ring and spar with a heavyweight fighter. Knowing this was going to be a defining moment in his early career, Chelo knocked his opponent down in the second round. That day Kahn knew Chelo had what it took to be a champion in the world of Boxing. After four years of training, Chelo proved just that by knocking out Alberto Albaladelo in the eighth round at the World Boxing Association Fedecentro Championship in Tampa, Florida.

Not long after that great achievement, Chelo suffered a debilitating ankle injury, temporarily halting his career. But undeterred, and fueled by the unwavering support of his family, Chelo staged an extraordinary comeback in 2010. At the age of 34, he clinched the Florida State Super Middleweight Champion title by defeating Adam Jaco, a testament to his resilient spirit.

Retiring in 2012 with an impressive record of 13-1-7, Chelo redirected his passion towards fitness and wellness. As a certified personal trainer, he channeled his extensive knowledge into guiding others towards their own personal victories.

Beyond the ring, Chelo remained deeply connected to his community, imparting invaluable life lessons gleaned from his boxing career-discipline, commitment, integrity, respect, and humility. These qualities continued to shape his daily life and served as a beacon of inspiration for those around him.

Just when everything seemed to be going in a positive direction for Chelo, a terrifying event nearly took his life. On the evening of February 10, 2018, Chelo and his wife Christina were enjoying an evening at a local nightclub with friends and family, when Chelo observed a woman being roughed up by two men in the parking lot. Doing what Chelo knew was the right thing to do, he stepped in to protect the woman. That's when one of the men pulled a gun and shot Chelo in his side.

Chelo spent the next 59 days in the hospital and endured numerous surgeries and procedures to save his life. Chelo survived and although suffering from PTSD and anxiety, he rebuilt his life with the undaunted support of his loving wife and family.

Last weekend, in honor of his incredible boxing achievements, Chelo became the first Hernando County resident to be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. Following the event, the Hernando Board of County Commissioners recognized Chelo during a public meeting on Tuesday morning, honoring him with a formal resolution. Chelo says, "I don't have the words to describe how honored and humbled I am by the support of my community, my friends, and my family."

Jose "Chelo" Alonzo's story is one of courage, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. From tumultuous beginnings in Puerto Rico to the pinnacle of boxing glory in Florida, his journey exemplifies the triumph of the human spirit. More than a champion in the ring, Chelo is a champion of perseverance and community spirit, leaving an indelible mark on both the sport of boxing and the lives he touches. As he continues to forge ahead in his new role, Chelo Alonzo stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion and purpose.

 

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