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Tyrone Spong: MMA is a challenge, but I'm a guy who likes to be challenged

Article from lowkick.com

This past Saturday, It's Showtime brought kickboxing back to the main stage with their stacked "It's Showtime 55" event from the WTC Expo in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Among the most anticipated bouts of the action-packed line-up, heavy-hitting veterans Tyrone Spong and Melvin Manhoef were expected to set the tone for the night's main card action, which would culminate in a Heavyweight showdown between Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki.

Despite lacking the explosive finish that seemed likely when the match-up was announced, Spong dominated Manhoef en-route to a unanimous decision win. Though the Dutch-Surinamese Heavyweight admits that he expected more from his opponent, Spong feels confident that, overall, the fight lived up to the hype.

"I hadn't fought for a long time, but it still went well," he said. "I felt good. Getting the W is most important, but I think it lived up (to expectations). At the same time, I expected a little more from (Manhoef). I was expecting him to show a little more aggressiveness and try to get at me, but he was a little bit easy. I hit him with a few good shots and I think he got scared."

A former kickboxing and mixed martial arts champion, Manhoef has provided combat sports with some of it's best highlight-reel knockouts, including his 2008 KO victory over current UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt, whom he is the only fighter to finish via strikes in MMA.

Now riding a three-fight losing slump in both arenas, the question of retirement looms for Manhoef. However, according to Spong, who was fresh out of the ring with "No Mercy," the feared striker still has enough gas in the tank to remain competitive.

"I think Melvin still has enough in him to win against a lot of young, upcoming talents," Spong explained. "He's a good fighter, but at the same time, people forget that this fight was my 105th fight. So, I have a lot of experience too. I've been fighting since I was 15-years-old. I'm still young, but I'm a veteran in the sport as well."

As his lengthy kickboxing resume would suggest, Spong has long been a fan-favorite overseas, but has expressed interest in entering the U.S. dominated world of mixed martial arts. Currently training at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida, he hones his skills alongside such talents as Rashad Evans, Anthony Johnson, Jorge Santiago, and JZ Cavalcante. In exchange for sharing his striking acumen, Spong benefits from the various backgrounds of some of MMA's elite.

"Mixed martial arts is a challenge, but as always, I'm a guy who likes to be challenged. Throughout my whole career I've accepted challenges, and I think that today was a step forward," said Spong. "People in America know me well now. They know me because I've been there helping a lot of MMA fighters out and training MMA. I think a lot of people in America are following me and they saw that I put up a good fight."

Though he acknowledges the inevitable growth of mixed martial arts, Spong remains true to his roots, explaining that he's not quite ready to turn his back on kickboxing just yet.

"I think It's Showtime keeps building up really well throughout the whole world. It's a well-known organization. Also, Simon Rutz (owner and Chief Executive of It's Showtime) is not just giving up. I think Simon, with his mentality and his potential, it's going to take over again," Spong explained. "Right now, it's no secret that MMA, and especially the UFC, is the biggest fighting organization world-wide."

When asked about the liklihood of his next fight taking place inside of a cage rather than a kickboxing ring, Spong remained on the fence, admitting that it was still uncertain. "I don't know yet," he stated before parting with a message for his fans.

"Follow me on Twitter (@Tyrone_spong) and you'll be the first ones to know - and watch out, I'm coming


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Rishi (1321 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 12:39
Thanks for the article nice read !!!

i WISH SPONG THE BEST May it be in kickboxing or mma i just wanna see him fight again as soon as posible ...

but i do hope he fights sum more big names in kickboxing ..
PrettyinPink (25 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 02:18
@Rishi : Yes,I am also a fan of Tyrone.I think he is a great,fast, technical fighter and I knew he's been training in MMA for some years now. His only "minus" would be the fact that he is not a natural heavyweight, but he proved in his fight against Overeem that he can compasate that with the tactics, agility and speed. I wish he would challange Ghita for the It's Showtime title... or get a rematch against Saki! :)
Rishi (1321 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 05:29
@PrettyinPink Yeah you are right he is not a natural HW but like you said he compensates that with good technical skills and agility ectra (like his motto is Technique above Ability)

A re-match against saki i would love to see i would even like that more than him against Ghita because against saki spong would be forced to fight a little more agressive specially since he lost the first fight by a nasty ko ...but back than he was kind of new to the HW scene and he was still bussy finding his form

As for as him in mma i dont know i never ever ever saw him in a mma fight
i DO of course know he is training over at Rashad evans and the blackzillians
and i geuss with good training for a couple of years he could make a transition
cus no mather how you look at it if a nfl player can do it a experianced kickboxer
should be able to do the same ..

Only problem i just dont see him fighting as a mma fighter because his whole aura
the way his body is build everything points out to a Stand-up fighter ..

and its real difficult to fight in a different way than u are used to ..
cus things that are just sharpen into you by the years of training you cant just denie them certain stance or so

PrettyinPink (25 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 06:14
@Rishi The "nfl player"- you mean Brock Lesnar? Lesnar is also an Amateur Wrestling champion (NOT PRO-wrestling,WWE--> although if you watch him, you'll be amazed at what a great athlete he is- but that's another topic!) - totally different background then Spong. Anyhow, in my opinion, Tyrone, Saki and Ghita are the "Holy Trinity"in kickboxing in my opinion. Just as a few years back we had Bonjaski,Schild and Hari!
Rishi (1321 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 11:01
@PrettyinPink No i dont mean BROCK LESNAR im talking about other fighters with a NFL or football background ...There are a couple pretty normal thing in the usa as for as i know

hershel walkar is one i know of and he is a legend haha but there are more ..like him
but thats a other topic ..

And as for as brock goes yess i also think he was a great athleet ..

Rishi (1321 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-10 at: 11:03
@PrettyinPink No i dont mean BROCK LESNAR im talking about other fighters with a NFL or football background ...There are a couple pretty normal thing in the usa as for as i know ..
... (736 posts)
Posted: 2012-02-12 at: 12:28
he should trian weith the diaz brothers.
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