When the opponent for Ukrainian fan favourite Oleksandr Usyk and his next fight was announced. It did come as somewhat of a shock to most of the boxing aficionados. As the new heavyweight opponent’s name was thrown into the mix, many were left wondering, who the hell is Tyrone Spong?
But who Tyrone Spong actually is, is one of the greatest kickboxers of all time? Having a career that spans some 18 years inside the ring and later cage. Spong is amongst the most decorated standup fighters of all time. And while boxing maybe just one combat sport in which Spong has competed. There can be little denying his fighting spirit and willingness to face new and exciting challenges.
And on October 12th, the man from Suriname by way of Holland. Will face his toughest test to date, at least in the sport of boxing. When he faces one of it’s fastest rising stars. The European, World, Olympic Gold medalist and current WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, The Ring, and lineal cruiserweight champion of the world Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk at Heavyweight
In what will be Usyk’s first fight as a professional at heavyweight. Having previously fought at the weight on a number of occasions as an amateur. Spong has been tasked with introducing the Ukrainian to the division in a trial by fire. In a sport where many fighters seek to keep their unblemished record intact, it’s a fight which no doubt got Spong excited.
Where other more seasoned pros were likely offered the opportunity. Spong is the guy who has stepped forward and accepted the challenge, as he looks to build his name in the sport of boxing. And in the bargain, take out one of the most feared boxers on the planet in the process.
Spong in MMA
For Spong, boxing is a distant second on his list of career achievements. Followed in third place by Mixed Martial Arts, where he dabbled for a short time and just two fights in the World Series of Fighting. It was as though he wanted to simply test his skills in yet another arena, before making the final decision to focus on his boxing.
Yet in terms of sheer star power in the world of kickboxing, Tyrone Spong has done it all. And with such illustrious wins to his name against some of the sport’s greats, including Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjansky, Ray Sefo and more. Will he add the name Oleksandr Usyk to his long and impressive hitlist?
Tyrone Spong’s record
|Kickboxing||100 – 91 – 7 – 1 – (1 NC), 60 wins by knockout|
|Pro Boxing||14 – 0, 13 wins by knockout|
|MMA||2 – 0, 1 win by knockout|
In Usyk, we find one of the next generation of Ukrainian or eastern block fighters that have burst on to the scene in recent times. In a sport which for many years was dominated by African American boxers, especially in the heavier divisions. Eastern European boxers have very much staked their claim and their position at the top of the pile.
And this is especially evident in the crop of fighters who have hailed from the stables of Team Lomachenko. This is where you will find Usyk, along with friend and ranked p4p Vasyl Lomchenko. These two along with a host of other rising prospects have continued to set the boxing world alight as they move deeper into the professional ranks.
Usyk’s record as a pro speaks for itself. But it was in the amateur scene, where he along with Lomachenko amassed a highly impressive record. Which prepared the fighters to take their game to another level in boxings professional ranks. Now as Usky makes the move to heavyweight, with his eye on the prize of future world titles. The only thing standing between him and the start he is hoping for is one Tyrone Spong.
Oleksandr Usyk’s record
|Amateur Boxing||335 – 15|
|Pro Boxing||16 – 0, 12 wins by knockout|
King of the Ring
It’s a tantalising bout for all the reasons mentioned previously as one of boxing’s stars looks to make the move from cruiserweight, skip light heavy. And jump in the deep end with the big boys at heavyweight as Tyrone Spong. One of the greatest kickboxers of his generation is the guy who stepped up when others would not. No doubt seeing the fight as a golden opportunity to introduce the wider boxing world to Spong the pugilist.
There is little doubting who on paper will have the edge come fight night. In a sport where just one of your tools is available for use. Spong is restricted from his regular course of action, in which he would with little doubt win. But this is boxing! How will he fare where to date, no other professional has been successful?
But Usyk is the elite of the elite. A fighter who has all the potential in the world to go right to the top and beyond into megastardom. Can Spong be that spanner in the works that brings the Ukrainian machine to a grinding halt? October 12th we find out exactly who is King of The Ring, it’s a namesake or it’s rival?
Images courtesy of fightmag.com & sundaypuncher.com