On Tuesday, Matchroom Boxing made official the Heavyweight debut matchup of Oleksandr Usyk as he will take on Tyrone Spong at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on October 12th. The event will be broadcasted live on the streaming service DAZN in the United States and on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Usyk (16-0 12 KOs) joins the Heavyweights having dominated the Cruiserweight division, leaving the cruiserweight division as the undisputed champion after knocking out Tony Bellew in Manchester in November, his first fight in a multi-fight deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA.
That win for the Ukrainian 2012 Olympic king was a remarkable fourth in a row in hostile territory having won the first Cruiserweight installment of the World Boxing Super Series by beating Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis and Murat Gassiev in their backyards, unifying the division in two of those fights to lead to his impressive win in England.
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Now the pound-for-pound master will look to translate his incredible success into glory at the Heavyweight division, but faces a stiff examination of those goals in the form of Spong (14-0, 13 KOs).
“I am very excited to make my Heavyweight debut in Chicago on October 12, live on DAZN,” said Usyk to the media. “Spong is a fast and powerful Heavyweight who has had much success in the ring. I must come through this test to challenge for the World Heavyweight title I look forward to seeing everyone there.”
The 33-year-old Florida-based contender can make a massive statement in the Windy City and risks his #4 rating with the WBO to take on Usyk. The Surinamese-Dutchman was taken the distance for the first time in Suriname where he successfully defended his WBO, and WBC Latino titles against Ytalo Perea in December and comes into the bout on the back of his 13th knockout win in 14 fights with a second-round victory in Mexico on Saturday.
Spong turned to boxing after leaving a stellar kickboxing career where he won 91 of his 100 bouts in a 13-year career littered with accolades and titles before officially retiring from kickboxing in April 2016 after his last match on December 2014, turning pro in the boxing ring in March 2015.
“After achieving most of my goals as a kickboxer 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 stated. “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 October 12.”
Usyk’s status as the former long-reigning WBO king means he is the mandatory challenger for that title that Andy Ruiz Jr won in an upset from Anthony Joshua in New York in December along with the IBF and WBA belts, so the stakes are high for both Usyk and Spong ahead of the Ruiz Jr-Joshua rematch in December.
“Usyk’s Heavyweight debut is one of the most hotly anticipated boxing moments of 2019, and personally, I can’t wait to see it,” said Hearn to the press. “Oleksandr is a phenomenon who dominated the Cruiserweight division becoming undisputed after just 15 fights. Now, as he prepares to challenge for the World Heavyweight title, he must first overcome Tyrone Spong in Chicago. Spong will be explosive and dangerous, and we expect an electric heavyweight battle at the Wintrust Arena, live on DAZN.”