Tyrone Spong is easily one of the best and most talented fighters in the world. The ten-time kickboxing world champion returns to the ring this tonight at GLORY 15: Istanbul with another championship on his mind.
Spong is one of four competitors fighting for the right to become the inaugural GLORY light heavyweight champion tonight free on Spike TV. In an exclusive interview with FanSided, Spong discussed how he feels going into the tournament.
“I am feeling good man. I am ready,” Spong said. “I just need to focus on [Saulo Cavalari] first and go from there. I know he is a strong kid and has a lot of power. This is the biggest fight of his career. This is the biggest fight ever for him, so I know he is going to be very hungry and ready. I am going to be ready for him too though.”
Spong is confident that he will win the tournament tonight and add another belt to his already historic kickboxing career. For Spong, he does not have a preference as to who he fights in the finals.
“I do not really care who I fight,” Spong said. “I just fought Nathan [Corbett] a few months ago, so I think the fans would prefer me to fight Gokhan Saki, but that is up to Nathan Corbett and Gokhan Saki. I will be ready for either.”
Back in 2009, Spong met Saki at the first ever K-1 World GP in Yokohama, Japan. In the fourth round, Saki landed a brutal right hook that took Spong out. Spong and Saki never rematched since that fateful night, but the potential rematch has Spong excited.
“Of course I want to get redemption on [Gokhan Saki], otherwise I would not be a fighter,” Spong said enthusiastically. “I am a different athlete then I was back then. I was relying on my talent way too much back then. Not that I didn’t train hard, but I was not focused on my craft as much as I am doing that now. I am a completely different fighter and a different person now.”
The tournament tonight will require the competitors who win to fight twice in order to become the Light Heavyweight champion. Spong discussed the difficulty of the endeavor.
“It is very hard. You have to think about your first fight, and if you win then you are probably injured,” Spong explained. “Your neck, your body, basically everything gets stiff back in the waiting rooms, and then you have to get up and fight again. If it is an eight man tournament, you have to fight three times in one night. Figure it out, it is hard.”
With kickboxing more prominent than ever in the United States due to Glory’s Spike TV deal, Spong is excited to represent the sport he loves.
“I am the biggest name that GLORY has right now. I feel privileged that I can be an ambassador for the sport in the states. Everything happened by coincidence. I moved here three years ago, not knowing that this would happen. And not only in kickboxing, you know. I have a following in kickboxing, MMA and boxing. I never dreamed about that. I just did my thing, and look where we are at now. For me, being able to be an ambassador for kickboxing here in the states is a true privilege. I will look to continue to put on good shows for the fans.”
While kickboxing is his undoubtedly his premiere sport, Spong is an all around combat sports athlete.
“I know I am going to have a boxing fight this year as well,” Spong said excitedly. “I plan of fighting in kickboxing, MMA, and boxing this year. I think I am going to have at least five fights in total.”
Spong’s accolades are a long list of accomplishments. He is easily one of the greatest kickboxers of all time, has had some of the most memorable fights in kickboxing history, and is a ten time world champion in six different weight classes. His greatest career moment, however, is incomparable to in the ring accomplishments.
“Representing the nation of Suriname, my home country, and getting a medal from the president of the country in front of the whole nation [was my greatest career accomplishment]. Everybody there supports me. I think that is something I appreciate also because of my family. My family was very proud of me, and I accomplished something not only for myself, but for the whole nation and especially my family.”
GLORY 15 will air via tape delay on Spike TV tonight with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET.