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Now switching to boxing, Tyrone Spong's coach says a big name fight on the horizon

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Ed Dillar, Glory

ORLANDO –Tyrone Spong may be done with mixed martial arts for good. And possibly kickboxing, too.

The Blackzilians fighter who has been splitting time between kickboxing and MMA over the last few years is still plagued by lingering issues with his right leg, which he fractured in gruesome fashion against Gokhan Saki at Glory 15 in April 2014. Though he held multiple titles as a kickboxer, he competed just twice in professional MMA events, both under the World Series of Fighting banner. Spong defeated Travis Bartlett and Angel DeAnda in 2013, and was slated to face Jake Huen at WSOF 26 on Dec. 18 before falling out after complications with the injury.

His longtime coach at the Blackziians Henri Hooft, who is in Orlando this week helping Michael Johnson prepare for his UFC on FOX 17 bout with Nate Diaz, said the injury may be directing him to the boxing ring.

"It's very difficult, because all the time it's the same, the knee, the leg," Hooft told MMA Fighting. "I mean, it's not a big thing [this time], but it's still hurting him, it's just, it's dangerous. Another thing is Tyrone is very into boxing. A lot of the big names are all asking about him. That's more money, and Tyrone is so good at everything, it's so difficult.

"I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, [and told him to] make a decision. You can't fight MMA with those injuries, make some money at boxing, because he spars with the best guys in the gym in Miami. Every trainer says, you need to go to boxing. They all say it, that he's going to do great in boxing."

The 30-year old Spong has been training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Miami with Pedro Diaz. He made his boxing debut this year against Gabor Farkas, and fought again two weeks later against Emre Altintas, knocking out both in the first round. Hooft, who has honed Spong's stand-up game to adapt to MMA, said he encourages the move to boxing.

"Yeah, I told him, I said you're going to go to boxing and have some rest, because you've kicked the sh*t out of me those times," he said. "I'd really want to see him go to boxing."

Hooft thinks Spong is done with MMA.

"I think he's going to go to boxing," he said. "I think he's made a decision. Very soon some news is going to come out that he's going to sign for a very big name. He's going to go to boxing. And he's crazy enough to fight heavyweight, because we kickboxers, we don't really care about the weight cut. I think he's going to do great.

"I mean, if the boxing trainers say he's doing so well — and I see him boxing with the big heavyweights, and I see what he's doing there — I think he's going to do big things."