By Jake Donovan

Tyrone Spong picked up what could be his most important career win to date.

What started out as a routine rust-shaking fight turned into a potential launching pad for a major opportunity later this year, as the unbeaten heavyweight has been rumored to be next in line for a shot at Oleksandr Usyk. Whether or not that fight materializes, Spong accomplished his initial goal in picking up his first win of 2019 after stopping Ecuador’s Jeyson Minda in two rounds Saturday evening in Merida, Mexico.

Two knockdowns produced the ending at 1:42 of round two.

Spong had been out of the ring since a split decision win in his native Suriname last December, marking the lone distance fight of his career. Injuries kept him out of the ring for much of the year before deciding on a ring return in Merida.

The Miami-based heavyweight—trained by renowned Pedro Diaz—boxed smartly in the opening round, feeling out Minda (14-2-1, 8KOs), who turned pro at super welterweight and who has fought primarily at super middleweight and light heavyweight in moving up in weight for this fight.

By round two, the massive size difference was evident. Spong imposed his will on the overmatched Minda, connecting with a right hand to the midsection for the bout’s first knockdown. Minda beat the count but was unable to fend off the multi-talented Spong—a former kickboxing champion and mixed martial artist. An ensuing flurry resulted in the second knockdown and ultimately the end of the fight as the referee waved off the contest without issuing a count.

Spong improves to 14-0 (13KOs) and now awaits marching orders for his next assignment.

His name has surfaced as the frontrunner to next face Usyk (16-0, 12KOs), the unbeaten former World cruiserweight king who remains without an opponent for his heavyweight debut Oct. 12 in Chicago, Ill. Usyk’s co-promoters, K2 Ukraine and Matchroom Boxing have not given any indication as to who will land the assignment, other than ruling out recent candidates Carlos Takam and Andrey Fedosov.

Whether the opportunity is granted to Spong will be revealed in the coming days, as tickets are already on sale for the upcoming show, which will stream live on DAZN.

For now, it’s a successful return to the ring and the win column for Spong, who resumes his knockout ways exactly one year after his last such finish.

The bout streamed live on the Facebook page of event promoter Armor Box.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox