Tyrone SPONG enters GLORY 9 NEW YORK tournament
Twenty-seven year-old martial arts fighting superstar Tyrone “King of the Ring” Spong (69-6-1 43 KOs) of Boca Raton, Fla. via Suriname will compete in the one-night, single-elimination GLORY 9 New York tournament featuring a lineup of the world’s top light heavyweight (209 pounds/95 kilograms) kickboxers, at Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center in New York City on Saturday, June 22, Glory Sports International (GSI) announced today.
“We are excited to enter Tyrone into this historic, first GLORY championship series event in the U.S. that will determine who is physically and mentally the top athlete in kickboxing’s light heavyweight division,” said Glory Sports International CEO Andrew Whitaker.
“Tyrone’s recent performances in the ring have distinguished him as one of the best and most powerful martial arts fighters in the world who can showcase our great sport at its highest level,” continued Whitaker, “so we look forward to seeing him compete against the other superstars who have been enlisted for action in the tournament.”
In his last GLORY start on March 23, Spong, a member of the vaunted Blackzilians fight squad that boasts the likes of fellow martial arts fighting greats Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem and Vitor Belfort, triggered a changing of the guard in the ring at ExCel Arena in London, England, decimating Remy “The Flying Gentleman” Bonjasky, a three-time champion of the old K-1 series and one of kickboxing’s greatest athletes of all time, with a vicious right hook in the second round (2:02) of their highly-anticipated main event showdown.
The explosive KO marked Spong’s fifth consecutive kickboxing victory. One fight prior, on June 30, 2012, Spong toppled another icon of the sport and future Hall of Famer, Peter Aerts, scoring a thunderous KO on Aerts in the third round (2:10) of their matchup in Brussels, Belgium.
Since turning professional as a middleweight in 2003 and winning 12 fights that year, Spong, a former protégé of retired heavyweight kickboxing legend Ernesto Hoost, has since climbed his way to the top in four different weight divisions. He has faced and defeated a host of top-ranked rivals in addition to Bonjasky and Aerts, including Kaoklai Kaennorsing, Ray Sefo and Melvin Manhoef.
Also slated for battle in the star-studded, eight-man single-elimination tournament, are hard-hitting KO artist Brian Collette (19-1, 16 KOs) of Norfolk, Va.; developmental Road To GLORY USA light heavyweight tournament winner Dustin Jacoby (9-3, 7 KOs) of Arenzville, Illin.; four-time world champion Danyo Ilunga (51-4, 41 KOs) of Germany; Muay Thai sensation Filip Verlinden (40-9-1, 16 KOs) of Belgium; Aerts-protégé Mourad “The Silent Power” Bouzidi (75-20-2, 34 KOs) of Tunisia; world Muay Thai and Karate champion Steve McKinnon (42-5, 29 KOs) of Australia; and Michael Duut (38-3, 17 KOs) of The Netherlands.
The GLORY 9 New York light heavyweight tournament’s quarterfinal stage matchups will be announced soon.
In one of several Superfights also scheduled for the event, heavyweight superstar and former secret service agent Daniel “The Savage Samurai” Ghita (46-9, 35 KOs) of Romania will face Muay Thai champion Brice Guidon (28-8, 13 KOs) of France.
In other Superfight action, hard-hitting “Bazooka” Joseph Valtellini (8-1, 7 KOs) of Toronto, Ontario Canada will square off with fellow rising star Francois Ambang (9-2, 4 KOs) of Mechanicsville, Va. in a welterweight (170 pounds/77 kilograms) matchup.
Valtellini has earned six of his eight professional career victories in New York. Ambang emerged the winner of the development, eight-man, developmental Road To GLORY USA tournament, created to identify new talent and potential future champions for GLORY’s championship series, at New York City’s Capitale on March 22.
Phil Nurse protégé Brett Hlavacek (8-1, 3 KOs) of New York, N.Y., the runner-up in the developmental Road To GLORY USA tournament on March 22, will face three-time Muay Thai titlist Paul Marfort (10-5, 4 KOs) of Orlando, Fla. at welterweight.
Additional Superfights will be announced soon.