His opponent - unbeaten Tyrone Spong (14-0 13 KOs), a native of the South American country of Suriname, who began boxing professionally in 2015 after a 13-year kickboxing career in which he went 91-7-1 with 60 knockouts and one no-contest and won various titles.
Usyk was supposed to make his debut at heavyweight against battle-tested former world title challenger Carlos Takam on May 25 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, but suffered a torn right biceps and was forced to delay his entrance into the division.
So Eddie Hearn, promoter, managing director of Matchroom Boxing, made a deal with Spong, whose participation in the bout was secured with his win in a tune-up fight that took place in Merida, Mexico. Spong knocked out Jeyson Minda in the second round and came away from the fight with no injuries.
Usyk is considered to be a massive step up in competition for Spong, which he said he will be ready for.
"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 said. "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 Oct. 12."
Besides successful debut in a new weight category, there is a title contention opportunity guaranteed in case of Usyk’s victory on October 12. Usyk was installed as the WBO's mandatory heavyweight title challenger during his layout, so if Usyk wins, he will maintain his position as a future challenger for the winner of the Dec. 7 rematch between unified titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. and former titlist Anthony Joshua.
Despite Spong’s relative obscurity among the casual boxing fans, they can expect a great showdown on October 12, which will define the future picture of the heavyweight division.