GLORY 6 Istanbul: Gokhan Saki Fired Up For Rematch With Rival Heavyweight Daniel Ghita
ISTANBUL, Turkey (April 4, 2013) – The fighters’ training camps have winded down for the long-awaited rematch between heavyweight superstar rivals Gokhan Saki (79-16, 55 KOs) of the Netherlands and Daniel Ghita (46-8, 35 KOs) of Romania in the main event of GLORY 6 Istanbul at Ülker Sports Arena on Saturday, April 6, live on GloryWorldSeries.com.
At stake in the contest is a crack at reigning GLORY Heavyweight Champion Semmy Schilt, whom the 29-year-old, 1.82 meter/6-foot, 104.3 kilogram/230-pound Saki lost a unanimous decision to in the semifinal stage of the GLORY 4 Tokyo Heavyweight Grand Slam 16-man, one-night tournament on New Year’s Eve. The defeat came after Saki scored back-to-back, thunderous first round KOs on Raoumaru of Japan and Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva in the round of 16 and quarterfinal stages of the tournament, respectively.
For Saki, the fight is not only an opportunity to put himself into position to capture the GLORY heavyweight championship and avenge a previous loss to the towering 2.12 meter/6-foot-11 ½, 132 kilogram/291 pound Schilt, but also a chance to return to his roots. A native of Turkey, Saki will certainly have the thousands of fans at Ülker Sports Arena behind him, giving the heavy-handed KO artist added incentive in the bout.
Here is what Saki, who previously defeated Ghita via unanimous decision on Dec. 11, 2010, said before shutting the doors to his training camp:
“I fought Ghita in 2010. He is a very technical fighter. He is a good fighter. He is big and has more weight than me, but now it’s two years later and my style is much better. Last time I won by points, but this time I am going to try and knock him out. That’s what I have been training for. I train with Mike Passenier now – a new system. This is the system for the KOs and that’s what we are going to do.”
On Ghita’s camp having concerns about fighting in front of a Turkish crowd:
“If Daniel wins or hits me good, he doesn’t need to worry. It’s a sport. If he wins, he wins. If I win, then I win. I hear there are some problems at the other side, but they don’t need to worry. It’s sport and Turkish people love sport, love kickboxing, (there will be) no problem.”
On training with Mike Passenier in Amsterdam:
“I train only with Mike – a lot of pad training and condition training. Also a lot of technique. Sometimes we train for three or four hours only technique. Every training (session) is different, always good things and he has a lot of new things for me. We changed a lot of things. It’s not only the left hook any more. It’s complete, you know? Kicks, boxing, right hook, right straight, high kick, left, right – everything is now complete.
“More hands but also more kicks…I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. More kicks at the end of combinations. Sometimes I used to throw a low kick without making any punch first. Or the head kick, if you don’t punch first it can be easy to see the head kick coming. So we work on things like this, it’s really important.
“Also moving in and out, because I am small. I need to hit two or three times and go out without getting hit. If you saw the fight with (Anderson) ‘Braddock’ Silva, my system was good and I knocked him out. He did three rounds with (Remy) Bonjasky, three rounds with Badr Hari. I knocked him out. Obviously there is some luck as well, but still, it shows the system works for me.”
On his fast combinations:
“Before I give the combination, I think about it. I look at my opponent, I see what is available. Then it comes. I have a lot of favorite combinations, really a lot. I think maybe right straight-liver shot-left hook is my favorite at the moment.”
On career plans:
“I want to fight every heavyweight. Saki is a name now, I don’t need to fight somebody to make my name. I am open to everybody now. It’s time to fight everybody and make my money and win my fights. I don’t care – Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, the new heavyweights. Everybody is welcome.
“I want to fight Semmy Schilt again because he is the best heavyweight in the world. Not technically, but he won the tournament four times and he is still the champ now. I fought him over two rounds and I don’t think I lost the fight but they gave it to him. No problem, no worries. If he won, he won. But I would love to fight him again because I want to show everybody that a small heavyweight like me can beat a big heavyweight. If I fight him again with a new system, I think I can knock him out.”
On GLORY Heavyweight Champion Semmy Schilt:
“He is just big, yeah. If he was the same height as me, he would not fight like this. He has a big reach advantage. If you know how to fight smart, it’s not too difficult to fight him, but the bigger guys like Ghita, they want to make a war with Semmy. If Ghita had moved a little bit, played a little bit, I think it’s easier for him to fight Semmy Schilt than for me. But I think they don’t know the system. Or they know, but they can’t play it.”
On fighting Schilt at the GLORY 4 Tokyo Heavyweight Grand Slam:
“Seriously? Before I was thinking it would be a big problem, but actually it was really, really easy. I would fight him again tomorrow, I swear it. If I could fight him tomorrow I would do it. I could see everything he wanted to do before he did it – he wanted to make a jab or give a knee, I could see it, my eyes were faster than his movement. If Semmy wasn’t as big as he is, he would not win these tournaments. For sure not.
“In my opinion I think that should have been at least an extra round. I could have gone around the ring screaming and crying but, what would that have changed? The result was the result and that’s it. But at least I won the hearts of the people – I don’t think anybody except Peter Aerts gave him a fight like that in the last three or four years. And with my height [disadvantage]. I was happy with the performance in the two rounds. If I had got the extra round, my condition was good, I would have won the fight. But they didn’t give it to me.”
On how he will be remembered 100 years from now:
“They will remember me as the real ‘Rebel’ – one of the smallest heavyweights but also one of the fastest in kickboxing [history]. And of course the champion of GLORY!”
Tickets for the event, which takes place at the Ülker Sports Arena, are priced from 28TL and are available for purchase online via Biletix/Ticketmaster Turkiye at http://www.biletix.com/etkinlik/PBGLR/ISTANBUL/en#
The live stream of the event begins at 8:00 p.m. local time/1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST.