GLORY 9 results: Tyrone Spong captures
NEW YORK -- Tyrone Spong wants to be the best fighter
in the world. Whether boxing, kickboxing or mixed
martial arts, he wants every crown imaginable. It's an
ambitious goal, some might even say it's a crazy one.
But Spong simply loves to fight. The challenge and the
thrill of competition is in his DNA, and it comes out
whenever someone wants to fight him, whatever the
Saturday, the challenge wasn't just one fight. It was
three. Or at least, the possibility of three. At this
point of his career, he recently admitted, he doesn't
necessarily like tournament fights, but this show,
GLORY 9, was the best collection of kickboxing talent
the U.S. had seen in years, maybe ever, and that meant
the winner of the tournament would be the star of the
show. He wasn't going to let anyone else take the job.
It wouldn't be fair to say Spong dominated the
eight-man field. In fact, he survived an early
first-round scare just to advance. But from there he
found solid ground under his feet, and eventually won
the tournament, beating No. 1 ranked Danyo Ilunga in
Spong's biggest challenge came in his first fight.
Facing Dutchman Michael Duut, Spong was dropped in the
opening 15 seconds by a straight right. But in an
instant and stunning momentum swing, Spong fired back
an even bigger right, a M.O.A.B. with such ferocity
that it knocked Duut down twice. He managed to get up
to his feet before the 10-count, briefly leaned
against the ropes, and then fell back to the mat again
as the referee waved off the bout.
It was the signature moment of a strong debut for a
promotion trying to carve a niche in the crowded
American combat sports market.
"It's a responsibility," Spong said after collecting
his $200,000 winner's check. "I'm one of the biggest
faces for this organization, to promote the sport in a
positive way and this stage. But I can deal with the
pressure. I've been fighting main events since I was
18. I'm just happy it was a good event."
was tinged with a hint of controversy, as Spong rocked
Ilunga with a straight right, and was in the midst of
a barrage against the ropes when the referee stepped
in to stop the fight. Ilunga was never dropped during
the sequence and immediately protested the stoppage,
but replays showed he was on wobbly legs upon the
finish. GLORY rules don't allow the referee to give a
standing eight-count to a fighter who hasn't been
Prior to winning the title, the soft-spoken
Blackzilians fighter won a decision over Filip
Verlinden in his semifinal bout, meaning he defeated
the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 light-heavyweights in the
organization, all in the same night.
Afterward, he said he'd prefer to stay out of future
tournaments, but would consider an offer if it came
his way. Calling himself a "moneyweight," he
reiterated his plan to fight in MMA for the World
Series of Fighting in August, and then a move into
boxing by the end of the year.
"Give me one big name and a good fight," he said.
"That's what I prefer."
Pictures from the event can be seen here:
Full results from the event can be seen here: