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Tyrone Spong: I want to fight Klitschko, kickboxing organizations 'just can't pay me!'

The boxer-turned kickboxing star explains why he made the move to boxing and talks about a potential future in the UFC and Anderson Silva's PED scandal.

Dorian Szücs/

K-1, Glory and WSOF veteran Tyrone Spong raised more than a few eyebrows when he returned from a horrific leg injury in March to make his boxing debut at a regional show in Germany instead of return to kickboxing. After two first-round knock-out wins in boxing, Spong revealed in an interview with Groundandpound Magazine why he made the surprising move in the first place and what his future plans look like.

According to Spong, boxing is not just a way for him to favor his formerly injured leg and still get in some rounds. He says, we will see him box on a regular basis now because he hopes to find more financial contentment in boxing than he did in kickboxing lately.

"It's not just because of the kickboxing being a big risk or whatever. The kickboxing organizations that are out there just can't pay me. And I'm not gonna set the bar so low for myself that I accept a pay that is below the actual pay that I deserve, just to compete in a sport that I've accomplished so much in. I'm a ten-time world champion in six different weight classes. I beat the best. I did something that nobody in the history of kickboxing did: I moved up from middleweight to heavyweight, and I was one of the top dogs in the heavyweight division. I'm not gonna do that to myself, I think I deserve more," Spong says. "If they are not willing to pay me what I deserve, then I do something for myself, invest in myself and my future and do something to build my legacy as a complete combat-sports athlete."

By "they" Spong refers to his former employer Glory, the leading kickboxing organization in the world. Rumors have been swirling around for a while now that the Dutch fighters, who have gotten used to ridiculously huge purses from the old K-1 days, are not too happy with their current pay scale at Glory. Spong feels that he was the best fighter they had on the roster and wanted to get paid that way.

"In the past, Glory always treated me well. So did I, I treated Glory very well. I did all things accordingly. I was the face of the organization, I build them in America. I did everything that was asked from me and I was just the main guy. I'm just not happy with the offer that they came back with. It's all good, but any organization that is saying they have the best fighters in the world, no you do not! You don't have the best fighters in the world, because the best fighter in the world is not on a contract with you -- and that's me! End of story."

Spong has been out for almost a year due to a leg injury he suffered at Glory 15, but feels that the status he built over the years still makes him one of the most valuable assets in kickboxing, and that the time will come, when Glory will find a way to secure another deal with him.

"They can't forget about me. I did too much in the sport of kickboxing for you people to forget about me, after just a few months or after a year. You will remember me for years after this! What I did, nobody else did. Am I disappointed? Not really. They have to reorganize different things, and when they come up with a good partner, people that can pay me, they will give me a call."

Spong, a member of the Blackzilians team, alongside UFC stars such as Anthony Johnson and Rashad Evans, also collected two MMA wins in World Series of Fighting in 2012 and 2013. According to him, we might see him back at WSOF soon, but his big goal is to one day fight in the big leagues and step into the UFC's Octagon.

"Number one is: I'm a prize fighter. I fight for money," says Spong. "Dana White is a really good guy, I know him personally. He thinks that I'm crazy. I think Dana's crazy for not giving me a single fight. Because right now, I'm just one of the biggest names in combat sports and I can entertain the fans. Just give me a suitable opponent and I will put on a great fight for you and entertain the fans. Isn't that what combat sports is about? So, Uncle Dana, you're gonna read this: Again, just give me a single fight."

Spong is currently helping his teammate Anthony "Rumble" Johnson prepare for his May 23 light-heavyweight championship fight against division top dog Jon Jones. This is a fight that Spong has a simple, but strong prediction for:

"'Rumble' is gonna knock somebody the f--k out! So ref, just get out the way, so it isn't you and it's just Jon Jones. Just stay out the way. He's gonna win."

At Glory 15, Tyrone Spong suffered a broken leg against Gokhan Saki in the final of a light-heavyweight championship tournament. It is an injury very similar to the one Anderson Silva suffered against Chris Weidman in their second fight at UFC 168. Silva needed a little more than 12 months to return to active competition and later got popped for using steroids. Spong needed 11. Needless to say, that there's a big unspoken question in the room.

"Doping is something that is against the rules," Spong says. My personal opinion is: Do I think doping makes you a better fighter? No! Do I think that I fought a lot of fighters that used doping? Yes! Did they beat me? No! I won. So doping doesn't make you a better fighter. Regarding Anderson: I don't know what the story exactly is. He tested positive. Anderson is much older than me, I'm 29, he's 36 or 37. Did he use it to speed up the recovery, yes or no? I don't know. Do I think that those substances make your bones heal faster? I don't think so, because last time I checked, I got a great team of doctors surrounding me, none of those substances are proven to make you heal better or faster. Do I think it is a smart thing? No. Is he innocent or is he guilty? I don't know. Do I think it takes away something of his legacy? No. For me, no. Because, like I said, steroids don't make you a better fighter. He probably fought a lot of guys who were on steroids and he beat them. Look at Chael Sonnen. He was caught not once, but twice. And he fought him and he beat him twice. We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Should he be punished? That's up to the Athletic Commision, that's not my department. Do I think it takes away something from his legacy? No. Because I can give steroids to a thousand other guys, and they still can't and won't pull of what he did. That's god gifted, you can't take nothing away from that."

With a comeback to Glory off the table and a UFC contract not in reach for now, Spong is concentrating on pushing his boxing career further. There is no date set for his third pro fight yet, but he already has a big goal in mind.

"Right now, I would have to say Klitschko. Why not? I'm coming for him!"