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Coach: “Spong recovering well, will be back stronger than ever”

Published on May 20, 2014
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Tyrone Spong (91-6, 60 KO’s) suffered a broken right shin in the final of the GLORY 15 ISTANBUL Light-Heavyweight Championship Tournament after throwing a hard low-kick which met with Gokhan Saki’s knee.

He collapsed to the canvas and, while he remained stoic and kept his face blank, replays made the injury look horrific. He was taken to a local hospital before being flown home to Florida the next day, where he went into surgery almost immediately.

Fans wondered if they had just witnessed the end of Spong’s career but in the few weeks since surgery he has posted videos of himself walking around and starting to train again at The Blackzilians camp.

His coach Henri Hooft, a veteran of the Dutch kickboxing scene, says that the injury is no big deal and will not hinder his fighter’s career.

“It was just one of those things. Saki blocked with a knee-block and the shin just broke. It can happen in this sport, I saw it three or four times. My brother has a gym in Holland and he had it with two guys,” he says.

“One guy broke his shin in two places and came back to fighting and became a champion. The other guy broke the patella on his knee and also came back to full fighting fitness. Tyrone is going to be fine.

“He is 28 years old and this is his first real injury, he is going to be OK. And it’s only a broken bone. We have these injuries in kickboxing but if you look at MMA they have more injuries, ligament problems and a lot of knee problems and knee surgeries.

“This is just a broken bone. It will heal and he will come back to training as normal.”

A broken bone is one thing, but what effect does such an injury have on the mind? The shin-block is the standard defense against a low-kick attack, so even with his elite level skills and timing Spong can expect to encounter a hard block again.

“Will there be any psychological hangover? I don’t think so. You might think twice about kicking but equally you might think ‘Well, the leg has a pin in it now, it is stronger than ever,” says Hooft.

“Plus when [kickboxers] throw a kick it is automatic, it is trained into us so we do it without thinking. The kicks will just flow as normal.”

Spong found himself in the final after beating the tough Brazilian contender Saulo Cavalari (28-2, 18 KO’s) over three rounds, while Saki had stopped the Australian champion Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett (59-5, 45 KO’s) in the first round to book his spot in the final.

With Saki having a 2009 win by KO over Spong, the rematch was a highly anticipated one. Hooft wasn’t the only one disappointed to see the fight end so quickly.

“It was unlucky. He threw so many kicks in his life and this one just happened to be the unlucky one. I think it was going to be a great fight if that didn’t happen,” he says.

“But Tyrone is well on the way to recovery and he will be back stronger than ever.”

Meanwhile, Saki (81-16, 56 KO’s) is the division’s champion and awaits news of his first title defense. Former #1 Danyo Ilunga (55-5, 43 KO’s) scored a big KO win at GLORY 15 to stake a claim to a title shot - will he be the first to challenge the new champion?

GLORY’s next event takes place Saturday June 21 as we touch down in California, USA for a double-header.

GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES will air live on SPIKE TV and features a four-man Featherweight Contender Tournament plus Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic’s first ever kickboxing match on US soil.

When that event concludes we immediately head into GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING and the eight-man Middleweight Championship Tournament.

The world’s eight best middleweight strikers are throwing down in a one-night tournament for the chance to win the most prestigious belt in their sport.

Bitter rivals Joe ‘Stitch Em Up’ Schilling and Wayne Barrett are representing the USA while Simon Marcus represents Canada and Alex Pereira represents Brazil.

Russian standout Artem Levin, ranked #1 in the world, is part of the Eastern European presence, the other being Bogdan Stoica of Romania.

Filip Verlinden of Belgium and Melvin Manhoef of Suriname represent both their homelands and, given their training locations, the kickboxing powerhouse of Holland.

As well as the tournament, the pay-per-view also features a heavyweight grudge match between Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven with the World Heavyweight Title on the line.

Plus, Marc De Bonte will make his first defense of the World Welterweight Title when he faces Canada’s own ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini.

In the US, the LAST MAN STANDING pay-per-view is priced at $34.95.


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