Tyrone Spong finally received the random drug test result he expected all along.
Unfortunately for the unbeaten heavyweight, it won't matter—other than perhaps assisting in efforts to clear his name among those demanding answers.
After twice testing positive for trace amounts of the banned substance Clomiphene, Spong (14-0, 13KOs) produced a clean sample from an Oct. 2 test conducted by Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
The same agency notified the Suriname-bred, Miami-based heavyweight of adverse findings from tested samples on Sept. 22 and Sept. 26 via official letters, each of which BoxingScene.com has obtained a copy.
A separate test administered on September 16 by a testing agency contracted through the Illinois State Athletic Commission also showed Spong testing negative for all banned substances, along with posting normal testosterone levels.
“Just received word from VADA that my 3rd and last urine sample taken on Oct. 2 was NEGATIVE for all prohibited,” Spong stated through social media on Friday. “As I’ve said all along, I’m a clean fighter and the previous results were manipulated. Who is responsible for this?”
As it relates to VADA’s testing standards, the answer remains Spong himself, until he’s able to prove otherwise.
The substance discovered in the Sept. 22 and Sept. 26 testing samples is best known as a fertility drug, while Clomiphene usage among men is to boost testosterone levels. Medical data suggests that it takes anywhere from one to three months for Clomiphene to exit a person’s system in full.
Because VADA testing comes with a zero-tolerance policy—with the clear disclaimer that athletes ate 100% responsible for what enters their system—the results cost Spong a fight date with 2018 Fighter of the Year and former World cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, with the two originally scheduled to meet this Saturday in Chicago, Illinois.
Usyk (16-0, 12KOs) will instead square off with 38-year old Chazz Witherspoon, the second cousin of former two-time titlist Tim Witherspoon who agreed to the bout almost immediately after word of the VADA test results made the rounds. Their bout airs live on DAZN, beginning at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm local time.
It was an opportunity Spong hoped to enjoy even on relative short notice himself. The former kickboxing star-turned-heavyweight boxer was out for all of 2019 due to injury earlier in the year, resurfacing with a win on Aug. 31 in Merida, Mexico. The unbeaten prospect entered his fight with Ecuador’s Jeyson Minda with an agreement already in place that an injury-free win would secure a showdown with Usyk just six weeks later.
Spong prevailed by 2nd round knockout to preserve what would be the biggest opportunity of his career.
Because he was never licensed by the Illinois commission, his status was simply denied rather than his being in a position to receive a suspension.
In that regard, it’s similar to what was experienced by Jarrell Miller falling his drug testing folly ahead of his canceled bout with Anthony Joshua. Miller tested positive for multiple banned substances but at a time where he still hadn’t applied for a boxing license with the New York State Athletic Commission, who was to oversee the scheduled June 1 clash at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The opportunity instead went to Andy Ruiz, who made boxing history in becoming the first-ever Mexican to win a heavyweight title following an upset for the ages in stopping Joshua in seven rounds.
Because there wasn’t a license to suspend, Miller was simply denied one by the NYSAC, although the commission flagged his Federal ID over the infraction.
The same will likely apply to Spong, which means he will have to plead his case with any state commission under whose auspices he plans to fight during such period.
For now, he continues to profess his innocence, refusing to let go of the fact that a fight with Usyk—or anyone else—isn’t happening this weekend.
“It’s shameful that I’ve been robbed of the opportunity to whip (Usyk’s) ass,” Spong further noted on social media. “His team knew I was going to hurt him and needed a way out to avoid total embarrassment. I’ve been wronged and I’m pissed off.
“I’m willing to get on a plane… step into the ring (on Saturday) night and f*** (Usyk) up.”
Spong is now left to clear his name, both in the court of public opinion and more specifically with the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Spong is ranked #6 by the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body but now has to explain the recent test results in justifying why he should maintain his current place in their heavyweight Top 15.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox