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Gokhan Saki Won More Than GLORY's Light Heavyweight Championship

  • Published in News

Saki

Respect. Respect is what Gokhan Saki earned at GLORY 15 Istanbul.

Going into Saturday’s GLORY 15 Istanbul I found myself concerned. Not concerned over how Spike TV’s ratings would be or that any fighter was in any danger, but I was concerned that the Gokhan Saki that we saw in Chicago at GLORY 11 would resurface again. I was concerned that the local fans in Istanbul would not only give him a pass, but cheer him on. The Saki that I’m referring to is one that found it prudent to shove a referee and let his emotions get the better of him. The Gokhan Saki that had lost his way.

The months following GLORY 11 were a bit frustrating for long-time fans of Gokhan Saki. Saki was angry, very angry, because he lost a fight that he felt that he should have easily won and that he was wronged by the official. All fighters have tough nights and that night Saki had one. The problem was that Saki, whom had endeared himself to fans for years for not only being a scrappy, talented fighter, but a guy who loved his fans and wouldn’t let them down, was letting people down. I know that he let me down with the talk about lawsuits, being robbed and even potentially leaving GLORY for another organization because of a referee’s missed call. We’ve seen referees make the wrong call in the past before and know that the organization has no control over it and that referees have a very tough job.

What was tough to stomach was that Rico Verhoeven worked very hard for his tournament victory and that night that helped to define his career. That night was forever tainted and in a way, taken away from him, due to Saki’s words and actions post-fight. Now legions of fans would view Verhoeven’s big night as “tainted,” something that a guy like Saki should understand all-too-well from all of his battles. Saki has had nights with controversy in them before, just like he’s had disappointment and heartbreak before.

This is why at GLORY 15 Gokhan Saki was able to not only prove himself to be the great fighter that he is, but the great sportsman that we all knew that he always was. Saki found himself against two of the best fighters in the world, with both fights ending via stoppage due to injury. Those injuries, without a doubt, came from Saki’s work. In the case of Nathan Corbett, Corbett took a left hand to the ear that almost tore his ear off, requiring him to have plastic surgery to repair it. Saki was graceful in his victory and was legitimately concerned and supportive of Corbett after the fact.

Then came the main event against Tyrone Spong. This was the fight that we were all waiting for and that we all wanted to see something that we didn’t end up getting. We wanted a war, we wanted a classic, we wanted the rematch. Instead, Saki went to check a leg kick and Tyrone’s kick was a bit high, connecting on his knee and instantly snapping his shin. Saki didn’t run around celebrating, even though he had just won $200,000 and the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. Saki didn’t cut an interview saying how he meant to do that, or that he knew he could have broken Tyrone’s leg. No. Saki immediately ran to check on Tyrone and remained humble throughout the rest of the night.

Gokhan Saki wanted the win and will remain proud of his victory, but he didn’t want to win in that way. He knows that an injury like that isn’t common and that the fans wanted to see Saki pick up a clear-cut victory over Spong. Saki also knows that his fellow competitors are human beings just like him, especially after he moved from the Netherlands to Abu Dhabi due to personal reasons and needing to clear his head. What we saw from Gokhan Saki at GLORY 15 was enough to remind us that Gokhan Saki is not only a skilled, powerful and talented guy, but that he’s a fighter that fans can be proud to be a fan of.

Kickboxing and GLORY didn’t need an angry, resentful Gokhan Saki, they needed this Gokhan Saki. This Gokhan Saki as one of their champions can only help GLORY and the sport of Kickboxing in the long run. This Gokhan Saki is the guy that I’m a fan of and will always be excited to watch step into the ring. I'm proud to consider myself a fan of Gokhan Saki.

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Nathan Corbett Talks First Fight With Spong and Looks Ahead to Glory 11

  • Published in Glory

Glory

When it comes to fights that fans are dying to see, GLORY seems dead set on making those big fights happen to not only keep old fans happy, but to show newer fans just how exciting GLORY Kickboxing can be. That is definitely the case when it comes to GLORY 11's big showdown between Tyrone Spong and Nathan Corbett. The two first met in 2009 in Jamaica in a fight that resulted in a No Contest due to some late shots that Corbett fired off after it looked like Spong was done for. In Corbett's mind this is still a KO win for him, but for Spong, there is revenge on his mind.

Corbett very rarely goes outside of Muay Thai rules, as his elbows are two of his best tools in the ring and over the past few years he hasn't ventured very far from the Gold Coast of Australia, but that is all about to change. Corbett will enter the ring at GLORY 11 in Chicago against Tyrone Spong and he sure as hell seems ready to me, what do you think? Check out this interview from GLORY with Corbett.

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Watch GLORY 15 on LK

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 15

Next weekend GLORY will present GLORY 15 Istanbul, featuring a huge, one-night, 4-man tournament to crown a Light Heavyweight Champion! It features Tyrone Spong vs. Saulo Cavalari as well as Gokhan Saki vs. Nathan Corbett. This is a huge event and if you are outside of the United States and want to watch this event live, LiverKick.com is (as always) the place to do that. The event begins at 9pm Eastern time!

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LiverKick.com Talks GLORY 11 with Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Interviews

GLORY

Tyrone Spong is a name that has jumped up in value over the past few years after cutting his teeth on the international muay thai and kickboxing circuit in a dizzying amount of weight classes. Spong has fought not only some of the best in the world in one or two weight classes, but in just about every weight class between 70kg and Super Heavyweight in the span of his career, with one fight against Nathan “Carnage” Corbett standing out as the one that fans wanted to see happen again. GLORY is making precisely this happen at GLORY 11 Chicago this weekend, live on Spike TV.

LiverKick.com caught up with Tyrone Spong earlier this week to discuss the fight with Carnage and he has a very mature way of viewing the first bout with Carnage, when asked if he considers it a draw or a loss; “Oh no, no man, for me personally it’s a loss. You know, according to the rules and the commission they call it a no contest. That’s not on me, you know, I don’t make the rules, I just fight according to them. To me personally though, I consider that a loss and now I have the chance to avenge that loss, so we’ll see.”

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Photo of the Day: Saki and Murthel in Florida

  • Published in Glory

Blackzilian

We've been talking about GLORY helping fighters find a gym to train at in America, as well as the possibility of some gyms moving some operations over to the United States. While we already know that Murthel Groenhart has been training in the US at the Blackzilians camp, it might be good to note that we've heard of other guys from Mike's Gym training there as well, namely Gokhan Saki.

Well, here is just further proof of the work that they've been putting in by the way of a photo of both Murthel and Saki at the Blackzilians camp hanging out with Tyrone Spong.

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It's Improbable That Tyrone Spong Can Fight for the UFC Any Time Soon

  • Published in Glory

The news today out of UFC's event in Dublin was that Tyrone Spong was in attendance (we already knew that from his seminar schedule) and that he spoke with Dana White, asking for a one-fight deal to fight for the UFC in Dublin, Ireland. Dana White reported this during the post-fight press conference to illustrate the point of everyone wanting to fight for the UFC in Dublin thanks to what was a rather crazy, raucous crowd. This has the MMA world chattering about Tyrone Spong and fantasy booking him in the UFC already.

Well, hold on a minute. 

Tyrone Spong is signed by both GLORY Sports International and World Series of Fighting, GLORY for kickboxing and WSoF for MMA. The GLORY deal came first and while they are open to allowing fighters to work outside of GLORY, there are restrictions. I have seen some GLORY contracts from a while ago and heard about more recent ones. Most, not all, include clauses about taking outside bookings, such as they must be approved through GLORY's management prior to accepting them, with some restrictions. One of those restrictions? That the UFC was out of the question. 

It's not clear what Spong's contract status is with GLORY at the moment, but one would have to think that he's still under contract and since he's one of their better-paid athletes, that they have a long-term, binding contract in place with Spong. So, not to dash your hopes and dreams, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment. Sorry.

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Check Out These Post-Fight Interviews with Rico Verhoeven and Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Glory

Rico

We are all still coming down from this past weekend's GLORY 11 on Spike TV. I mean, that was just a monumental event by every stretch of the imagination. There were some really big winners at GLORY 11, two of which were Rico Verhoeven and Tyrone Spong, who got to be the stars of the show on Spike TV and could have just cemented themselves as huge Kickboxing stars here in the United States. GLORY has put up video interviews catching up with them after their respective wins and both guys seem pretty pleased, as they should be.

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The Rumored Structure For This Year's GLORY Grand Slam Tournament

  • Published in News

Glory

We've been keeping our ears to the ground over the past few months in regards to everything GLORY, from possible television deals to upcoming shows to the format for their big Heavyweight tournament for this year. Last year's GLORY Grand Slam tournament was interesting, to say the least, using a one-night, sixteen man format with shorter rounds. It led to some quick action, but some of the more methodical, technical fighters like Remy Bonjasky were really hurt by such a ruleset and four fights in one night is just a lot of fights.

While some within the GLORY organization were steadfast in saying that they would repeat the format again this year, we've heard some conflicting reports on the format of the tournament. As GLORY gets closer to a larger American television deal (no insult to CBS Sports, but tape delay at 1am is simply not good enough for shows like this) they have to be concerned with time constraints and putting on a tighter, more unified production. GLORY already do a fantastic job with their pacing on their events, with the fights following each other in quick succession in a way that doesn't feel rushed, but natural. We can at least expect the quirks of last year's Grand Slam to not return.

So according to our source, who wishes to remain unnamed, this year's tournament will be shrunk down from sixteen men to just four to be able to properly fit on a two to three hour American television slot while putting on entertaining fights and being able to properly present the fighters to the audience. The first three participants will be based upon the GLORY World Rankings, although it should be noted that word is that Semmy Schilt will not participate. That means that Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita and Tyrone Spong are guaranteed spots in the tournament, with the fourth spot being a "Wildcard." That "Wildcard" spot will be determined by another tournament that will take place before the event, a Qualifying tournament. It is not clear who will participate in this tournament, but the next four in the rankings are Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome Le Banner and Errol Zimmerman (although I believe that Rico Verhoeven is actually in that spot now after his win over Errol).

So, what do you think? Would you be upset to see the Final 8 format disappear, or is it time for something new?

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Watch Tyrone Spong and Peter Aerts Staredown

It's Showtime is tomorrow, coming at us with one of the biggest fights of the year so far in Peter Aerts taking on Tyrone Spong live from Brussels. For Americans, the second half of the card will air on HDnet (soon to be AXS) at 3pm Eastern, for anyone who wants to watch the full card or is in an area where it won't be aired on television, head to ShowtimeFights.com and order the PPV now (clicking that link supports LiverKick!).

This video is courtesy of our friends at Staredown.NL, who will without a doubt be posting some more awesome content over the weekend.

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Glory Issues Statement Regarding Early Stoppage at GLORY 9 New York

  • Published in Glory

Mufadel noooo

This weekend's GLORY 9 New York event featured the GLORY Light Heavyweight Slam tournament, which was won by Tyrone Spong in a controversial bout with Danyo Ilunga. The ref, Mufadel Elghazaoui, stepped in as soon as Spong swarmed Ilunga with punches, stopping the bout while Ilunga was still of a clear mind, defending and on his feet. Since then fans have been speaking out against Mufadel, who has a history of poor stoppages in the past, much like we saw with former GLORY head referee Joop Ubeda.

Glory released a statement earlier today about it.

 

We agree with most viewers of June 22nd's telecast that the fight stoppage at Glory9 of Spong versus Ilunga, the final fight of the night, seemed premature. However, a professional referee is going to see things that we, and the audience, might not. He is the one who has the best vantage point to determine whether a fighter is capable of continuing the match and we must respect that. In this way, the referee acted fully within his authority and the rules of the sport. Anytime a fighter fails to intelligently defend himself, the referee must effectively end the fight.

Overall it was an amazing evening for our first event in the US and one few of us will forget. There were some real back-and-forth wars during the night, and the fighters, almost to a man, brought their best selves to the Glory ring in New York City at the historic Manhattan Center. We thank them and congratulate Tyrone Spong, the winner of the 8-man tournament and the $200,000 in prize money.

We look forward to another great night of fights this September on US soil and we will keep the fans posted on those details shortly.

 

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