By Sylvana Ambrosanio

Vernon Forrest's nephew Alphonso Forrest is ready to step in his shoes and keep his legacy alive. "This year I see myself building my legacy, starting my foundation, and of course starting my career as a professional fighter." Check out what the rising star has to share with you, and get to know him.

SA: Hey Alphonso, thanks for talking to me today, how is everything going?

AF: Hey Sylvana, it’s a pleasure to be talking with you today. All is well my way. I’m actually getting myself prepared for training right now. Got cleared by doctors to fight again after a concussion I suffered in a car accident.

SA: Very good news! So let’s start with how you got into boxing. What or who was it that inspired you to enter the ring?

AF: You know, everybody asks me this question. I fell in love with the sport when I was 8 years old, started competing at age 12. My uncle, Vernon Forrest inspired me to get inside the square circle. When I first walked into a boxing gym, I felt like I was at home already. From then to now so many people has been my inspiration. My mom, my grandmother, my aunts, Al Mitchell, Rayonta Whitfield, Mike Dodaro, Bennie Heard and many more.

SA: Your uncle, Vernon Forrest was the IBF and WBO Welterweight and Light Middleweight World Champion. What can you remember about his boxing career?

AF: Yes, matter of fact when he fought Shane Mosley Jr. the second time, I actually witness greatness unfold and it was an amazing feeling. I think I was happier than he was! (laughs) Every day I wake up and I think about him. He meant so much to me as a person and a fighter. I wish he was here to see me grow in the sport, but I know he will be in my corner spiritually. RIP Champ!

SA: Is following in Vernon’s footsteps and becoming World Champion your goal and motivation now that you are in the pro game?

AF: Of course, that’s one of my main goals. I know I will be a top dog one day in the sport. I got strong faith in the most high, trained hard every time I’m in the gym. I wouldn’t be in this sport if I didn’t want to become a world champion.

SA: How much involvement did Vernon have in your amateur career? Are there any lessons that you have learnt from him that you still stick by today?

AF: Vernon didn’t actually have much time to be involved in my amateur career, never even got a chance to see me train but he did have videotapes of me in the amateurs coming up. I would talk to him before every fight and he’d ask me “how you feel champ”? “Did you train hard”? And I will always say “I feel good, I’m just ready for that first bell and you know I train hard." When I won the 2008 ringside championships. I was so proud of myself. I worked hard for it, I earned it.

SA: In your opinion, do you think any successful amateur has what it takes to turn pro or do you feel it takes an extra set of skills to take the step up and become successful in the pro game?

AF: Good question and this is just my thoughts because some other fighters might have other opinions. But a top amateur boxer is already a pro and I feel like nobody can tell when you it’s time for you to go to the next level but yourself. It has to be inside you because when the lights blow and that crowd screaming, it’s just you and that man across from you.

SA: When do you plan on turning pro and what can the boxing fans expect from you once you turned pro?

AF: I plan on turning pro soon, real soon, hopefully this summer. That’s my goal anyway but my fans can expect a lot from me and my team and they shouldn’t expect anything less but the best. I’m fighting for a strong legacy. My team coming with a bang and I’m coming for anybody at the 141 pound weight class... period.

SA: How do your family and friends feel about you turning pro?

AF: It’s a lot of emotions of course but they support me to the fullest no matter what I do. I never really get inside the negative part of it because it’ll show it in my work performance. The last thing I need is any distractions right now.

SA: How does a career in boxing affect your life on the outside of the ring?

AF: A lot, I just recently had a baby girl and I’m trying to spend much time with her now because I have a very busy schedule but it’s all for her. Everything I accomplish now is for her. I owe all to her, my mom, grandmother, my uncle Vernon.

SA: Why don’t you tell us about your life away from boxing - who is Alphonso outside of the ring?

AF: I’m a big kid outside the ring. People that know me will tell you, "he’s silly at the times, very funny but once he’s training for a match, all jokes are out the window." I’m a basketball junkie. I love the lakers, my favourite team of all time. I like bowling, playing pool, just being me.

SA: Other than your uncle’s, are there any other achievements of other boxers that you would like to emulate?

AF: Yes, Roy Jones, Muhummad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather. To name a few…I love what they have accomplished inside and outside of boxing.

SA: Who would you say are your all-time and current favourite boxers?

AF: My favourite fighter is my uncle Vernon. He so much for boxing. Even when fighters would duck and dodge he just had that impact. Floyd “Money” Mayweather is my current favourite. I love his style in boxing, even when he’s cocky, he’s so confident in his craft. I remember when I met him at my uncle’s fight when he fought Shane Mosley the second time. Great person if you ever get to meet him.

SA: What is next for you in 2013 then?

AF: This year I see myself building my legacy, starting my foundation, and of course starting my career as a professional fighter.

SA: Where do you see yourself in 5years time from now?

AF: I see myself at the midway peak in my career number 1. an icon in the sport, inspiration to others, undefeated world champion. That’s the vision God has given me.

SA: Would you like to add anything, any shout outs or how the fans can get a hold of you?

AF: Sure, God my Lord and Saviour, I want give a shout-out to the Augusta boxing club, Jamal, Al Mitchell, Bennie Heard, My trainer Mike Dodaro and the rest of the Dodaro family, Rayonta Whitfield, My grandmother, aunt Evon and Trese, my entire city AUGUSTA GA…I love my city! If I forgot anybody, I love you all and God bless!

SA: Do you have a message to all your supporters?

AF: To all my supporters. I thank you for being with me through hard times and believing in my cause without God and y’all I wouldn’t be boxing today. Y’all play a big role! Thank you again! Peace! 

Alphonso & Sylvana