Oleksandr Usyk set for heavyweight debut against former kickboxing star Tyrone Spong
The heavyweight clash is headed to Chicago in October
After an undefeated cruiserweight career that saw him become the undisputed champion in the weight class, Oleksandr Usyk is ready to move up. The Ukranian slugger will meet Tyrone Spong, the former kickboxing standout turned undefeated heavyweight boxer, on Oct. 12 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KO) won gold at heavyweight in the 2012 Olympics in London before turning pro the following year and ripping through the competition. He impressively dominated the World Boxing Super Series, beating Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev to win the tournament, defeating each man in their home country while en route to becoming the first man in division history to hold all four major titles simultaneously. In his most recent bout, Usyk stopped Tony Bellew in London to retain his multiple championships.
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As Usyk was the WBO "super champion" when he decided to move up in weight, he was immediately made the mandatory opponent for the winner of the rematch between Anthony Joshua and champ Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7. A win over Spong will keep him in position for a potentially huge heavyweight title fight down the road.
Usyk was originally scheduled to make his heavyweight debut in May against Carlos Takam, but was forced to withdraw when he suffered a biceps injury.
Spong (14-0, 13 KO) ended his incredible kickboxing career in 2014 with a record of 91-7-1. He also picked up two wins in mixed martial arts during his kickboxing career before making his boxing debut in March 2015. Across the three sports, Spong holds a dominating 107-7-1 record and has scored 74 knockouts.
The dangerous Surinamese-Dutch banger will be an underdog when the men step into the ring in Chicago, but spoke confidently about the challenge ahead.
"After achieving most of my goals as a kick boxer and becoming one of the most decorated champions in the history of the sport, I wanted to test myself in the difficult and challenging sport of boxing," Spong said in the wake of the fight announcement. "I have worked tirelessly during the last three years and now have the opportunity to prove my worth as a boxer against perhaps the best pound for pound, and most technically sound boxer in the World. Some may think the challenge may be too difficult, but I believe in myself, and look forward to being victorious on Oct. 12."
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