Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Spong Honored With Suriname Lifetime Achievement Award

Tyrone Spong hated that he couldn’t be present to receive the greatest award bestowed upon a Suriname athlete, but also couldn’t have been more honored by whom accepted the honor on his behalf.

The legendary former kickboxing champion and current unbeaten heavyweight boxer was bestowed with the Kankantrie Lifetime Achievement Award, in honor of his contributions to the Suriname community both in and out of the ring. The award was presented earlier this month, while Spong was out of the country helping England’s Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21KOs) prepare for his December 7 heavyweight title fight rematch versus Andy Ruiz (33-1, 22KOs).

In his place to accept the honor was the soul he considers the real MVP, his wife Valerie Spong.

“A strong man is nothing without a strong woman and my beautiful wife Valerie has always been my rock,” Spong (14-0, 13KOs) told, shortly after returning to his Miami home after spending the past month in England with Joshua. “She has always been there for me then and through my most difficult and challenging moments.”


Spong has long been hailed as most decorated fighter in Suriname history, a journey which began 20 years ago when he first took up kickboxing as a 14 year old in his native homeland. By age 15, he became the Dutch national champion and turned pro three years later.

Within his first year as a kickboxer came his first world championship, which would lead to numerous Fighter of the Year honors and the distinction as the sport’s top-rated athlete by RingSports Magazine. He was also recently recognized as among the Top 10 greatest kickboxers of all time, amassing a 74-7-1 record along with a brief stint in mixed martial arts (MMA) before setting his sights on the pro boxing world.

“I’m one of the few successful kickboxers to successfully make the transition to boxing,” notes Spong, who remains an unbeaten rising contender.

Combat sports helped Spong rise to fame, but with such prominence handled with dignity and class. Having to fight—figuratively and literally—for what he wanted as a child, the now 34-year old boxer has never abandoned his roots. Through his celebrity status have come his charitable contributions to Hoop voor Kinderen—a Suriname organization dedicated to servicing children in need—along with groups who support children with HIV and children with disabilities.

His philanthropic efforts have extended to orphanages and tending to the homeless, arranging food and holiday gift drives. Children from local orphanages are treated to a day trip to the zoo where they can forget the world for a day and just be kids. 

Spong also made history in bringing the first-ever professional boxing event in his native country, headlining a show last December which came complete with sponsoring 25 children from a local orphanage to attend the show.

It’s perhaps fitting that an award in his honor came at a time when he was away helping another boxer for the next step in his own professional journey. More so, the award’s meaning—Kankantrie is known in Suriname as a sacred tropical tree—perfectly describing the guiding force in his life.

“My wife Valerie accepting the award for me meant everything, because she means everything to me,” notes Spong. “She and our four kids are my strength and inspiration.”

The unbeaten heavyweight last fought in September, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Jayson Minda in Merida, Mexico. A ring return is planned for the early part of 2020. 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Marchegiano on 11-29-2019

Good for him, never heard of anyone else from there. Honestly, watching K-1 was the first time I'd heard of the place so Spong's done well to show the world his folks exist.

Top Headlines
Martin Murray: I Don't Think Saunders Has Fought Anyone Like Me Nazarena Romero Battles Julieta Cardozo for Interim-WBA Title in Argentina Hearn Wants To See Tyson Fury at Ringside at Joshua-Pulev We Can't Know 'The Truth' About Errol Spence Until We See Him Fight Danny Garcia Ashley Theophane Reflects on Career as Sam Eggington Clash Nears Morgan Believes a Knockout is Needed To Defeat Tim Tszyu Foreman: If Mike Tyson Has 3 More Exhibitions Like That - I'd Back Him Over Any Contender Brandon Adams Demolishes Sonny Duversonne in Two Gor Yeritsyan Breaks Down, Stops Mahonri Montes in Sixth Brian Ceballo Decisions Larry Gomez Over Ten Rounds Ring City USA LIVE Results: Danielle Perkins Stops Princess Hairston Saunders: I Don't Blame Golovkin For Not Facing Me Berchelt Fends Off COVID, Eager To Get in The Ring With Valdez Fundora-Ahmed, Lopez-Santana, Ramirez-Flores - Face-Offs Mario Barrios Eyes Future Move To Welterweight, Spence-Garcia Winner Okolie In Search Of New Cruiserweight Title Fight Foe With Glowacki Out Anthony Yarde Will Be Looking For Fireworks, KO Win Over Arthur Danny Garcia: I Really Thought Spence's Career Was Over, Fight Wouldn’t Happen Anthony Joshua-Kubrat Pulev: No Ticket Priority For Families, Friends Anthony Yarde, Lyndon Arthur - Face-Off at Final Presser Billy Joe Saunders, Martin Murray - Ready For Battle Errol Spence vs. Danny Garcia Predictions: Fighters, Trainers, Hall of Famers Anthony Joshua Embraces 'Intimate' Scenario For Kubrat Pulev Fight Fundora: Just Trying To Make a Place At 154 And Hopefully Become Champion Billy Joe Saunders-Martin Murray Weigh-In Report From Wembley Spence: There Were Times I Wanted To Quit, But I Didn’t Wanna Let My Kids Down Joshua Would Take Less Pay To Stage Fury Fight in UK Errol Spence Putting in Work For Danny Garcia Defense Jacob Ng Aims To Win Big on Dec. 11 To Continue March To World Title Frank Warren: Joe Joyce in For a Big 2021, Dubois Still Has Huge Future Claressa Shields Feels Boxing is Sexist, Influenced Move To Explore MMA News: John Bauza, Tommy Frank, Ty Payne, Stephanie Chavez, More Martin Murray - So Close, Yet So Far Buster Douglas Very Willing To Face Mike Tyson in Exhibition Rematch Brandon Adams, Duversonne - Ready For Ring City Clash Dennis Hogan Hopes To Face Julian Williams in Early 2021 Angel Garcia: I Think Danny's Gonna Knock Out Spence In The Seventh Round Errol Spence, Danny Garcia - Face-Off at Final Presser Jazza Dickens Decisions Ryan Walsh - Wins Golden Contract Ricards Bolotniks Beats Down, Stops Serge Michel in Tenth - Wins Golden Contract
Latest Forum Threads