Prior to Fidel Castro stopping professional boxing the one name in Cuba was Nino Valdez. He ended his career in 1959 having started in 1941. His biggest win was defeating the then No. 1 contender Ezzard Charles. He also defeated Tommy “Hurricane” Jackson, Mike DeJohn and two UK boxers Don Cockell and Brian London. He ended up at 48-18 (36).
The big name in Cuba after Castro arrived was 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Teofilo Stevenson with a 302-22 record. He refused to turn pro even with talk of fighting Muhammad Ali. After losing to Duane Bobick in the 1971 Pan Am Games the next year he reversed that loss to Bobick in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He repeated those wins in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and in 1980 at the Moscow Olympics. He would have fought in the 1984 Olympics but Cuba and Russia declined entering the Olympics. He won Pan Am Gold in 1975 in Mexico City and in 1979 San Juan. He was 6:05. Don King offered Stevenson $5 million after he won his second Olympic Gold. Castro approved as long as Stevenson could return to the amateurs. Stevenson said “I would rather have the love of 8 million Cubans than all the money in the world.” The bout never happened.
Osmay Acosta was the 2007 Pan Am Gold Medalist from Ciudad de la Habana at 6’2″. In 2008 he defeated the current WBC Champion Deontay Wilder. In the Olympics he went 2-1.
Roberto Balado was the 1992 Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist. He won World Championships in 1989 in Moscow, 1991 in Sydney and 1993 in Tampel. He won the 1991 Pan Am Games. He died in a car accident on July 2nd of 1994 at the age of 25.
Felix “Big Kid” Savon at 6:05 was a 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist. He won six World Championships. In 1992 Olympics he defeated Danell Nicholson of the USA and David Izonritei in the finals. In 1996 Olympics he defeated Georgi Kandelaki (24-0 as a pro retiring with eye problem) of Georgia, Luan Krasniqi (30-4-1 as pro) Albanian out of Germany, and David Defiagbon (21-2 as a pro) from Nigeria in the final. In 2002 Olympics he defeated Michael Bennett of the USA and Sultan Ibragimov of Russia in the finals. Sultan won the WBO World Title (22-1-1 as a pro). He won Gold at the 1987 (Beat Michael Bennt WBO Champ), 1991 (Beat Shannon Briggs WBO Champ) and 1995 (Beat Lamon Brewster WBO Champ) Pan Am Games. He also won Gold at 1987, 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Games. He also defeated another WBO Champ to be in Ray Mercer. He was 362-21 in the amateurs.
Jorge Luis Gonzalez was 1983 Pan Am Champ defeating Tyrell Biggs who won 1984 Olympics. Cuba boycotted. He won the 1987 Pan Am Games defeating Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis. At 6:07 he was 31-8 (27) as a pro going 23-0 before losing to Bowe. He defeated Greg Page.
Orlanier “La Sombra” Solis was the 1999 Pan Am and 2003 Gold Medalist. In the 2001 World Championships he defeated Sultan Ibragimov (WBO Champ) and David Haye (WBA Champ). In 2004 Olympics he defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1-1 as pro), Zhang Zhilei (20-0 as a pro) and Kubrat Pulev (26-1 as a pro and No. 1 IBF ranked). He won 2 of 3 from Felix Savon. H was 347-12 as an amateur and 22-3 as a pro losing to Vitali Klitschko for WBC title.
Mike “The Rebel” Perez dropped from heavyweight to cruiser and was 24-3-1 (15) as a pro out of Ireland. He lost in 2018 fighting for the WBC Cruiser title and Alexander Povetkin for the WBC Silver heavyweight title. He had over 400 amateur bouts.
Robert Alfonso at 6:04 was 2007 Pan Am Gold Medalist defeating Oscar “Kaboom” Rivas (Colombian out of Canada now 25-0 as a pro). In 2008 Olympics lost to Vyacheslav Glazkov. He was the 2008 Olympics Gold Medalist in the Qualifier having defeated Andy Ruiz, Jr. (9-0 as a pro retired) and Michael “The Bounty” Hunter, Jr. (16-1 as a pro) of the USA. He also split with Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in the amateurs.
Yasmany “El Tiburon” Consuegra was 17-3 (14), as a pro from 2010 to 2015 losing his last three bouts.
This brings us to Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, who was 349-19 in the amateurs. He is now 30-1 (26) as a pro only losing to Deontay “
The Bronze Bomber” Wilder. He came off the canvas in the fifth round and was behind 85-84 on all cards going into the tenth round when he was floored twice and stopped. He has scored a pair of stoppages since. To this writer he is still the most dangerous heavyweight in the world at No. 2 WBC ranked heavyweight.
There you have it. Will there ever be a Cuban professional heavyweight champion?