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Gokhan Saki's GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship Vacated

  • Published in Glory

When we spoke with GLORY CEO Jon Franklin he told us that 95% of their fights had kept with them through the lean times. There were, of course, outliers, though. The biggest of which was Gokhan Saki, the GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion. He won the championship in a battle against Tyrone Spong that saw Spong's leg break in a freak accident and has left him in boxing and MMA since then. Saki, on the other hand, was not about to take a pay cut.

Saki has not competed for GLORY since GLORY 15 back in April of 2014. Instead he has competed one time for the UAE's GFC back in April against an overmatched Sebastian Ciobanu. The word on the street was that Saki was not happy with GLORY and while he was open to negotiations he would not return until his demands were met. GLORY has been negotiating with him ever since, acting on good faith and not vacating the championship, even after a year of inactivity. 

The final straw for GLORY was trying to negotiate for Saki to fight on September 19th in the Bellator Dynamite event to defend the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. They were unable to come to terms in time and GLORY has been forced to vacate the championship for the time being. They haven't given up on Saki just yet, but for now the title is vacant.

With GLORY's Light Heavyweight division being one of their deeper divisions it made no sense to hold up the title any longer. Hopefully this means that Danyo Ilunga and Saulo Cavalari can clash again, this time with the title on the line. Make it happen, GLORY.

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Weekend Results: Saki, Guidon, More

  • Published in Europe

Gokhan Saki at United GloryTwo big kickboxing shows this weekend to report on:

United Glory hosted the semi-final rounds of their World Series of Kickboxing and MMA tournaments this weekend.  On the kickboxing side of things, in the first semi-final, JLB teammate Brice Guidon defeated Mourad Bouzidi via KO in the 2nd round.  I have not yet found any footage from this fight, but it's an impressive win as Bouzidi is both a solid fighter and very tough to stop.  In semi-final #2, tournament favorite Gokhan Saki (pictured) took a unanimous decision win over Wendell Roche.  Another powerful, leg kick heavy performance from Saki in this one, although Roche put up a game fight, particularly in the 3rd round.  With those wins, the final is set: Gokhan Saki vs. Brice Guidon.  That is scheduled from some time in May, though could very easily be delayed.  Saki will remain the favorite, but Guidon is a tough fighter, with a 2010 win over top 10 Hesdy Gerges.  He'll definitely make this a good final, and has it in him to pull off the upset.

Only partial results are available for the rest of the card, as United Glory is known to shuffle their line-ups considerably at the very last minute.  In more kickboxing action, Nieky Holzken, Errol Zimmerman, and Robin van Roosmalen were all victorious against unknown opponents.  Not much is known here, except that Zimmerman apparently broke the arm of his opponent - we'll have more details on that incident plus all these fights as soon as we can.  Finally, in the MMA tournament, both UFC veterans lost, as Siyar Bahadurzada defeated John Alessio, and Tommy Depret defeated Roan Carneiro.  Siyar and Depret will meet in the MMA finals on that same May show.

The other big event was over in Romania, where SuperKombat and WAKO-Pro presented an event billed as Romania vs. Italy.  In a rematch from the 2010 K-1 Europe GP finals, Freddy Kemayo once again defeated Sebastian Ciobanu, this time via extra round decision.  Romanian site Kombat.ro is saying there was some controversy surrounding that decision, though take that with a grain of salt as they tend to really favor their local fighters.  Dzevad Poturak also took a decision win over Ionut Ifitmoaie, while Catalin Morosanu defeated Yuksel Ayadin, again via decision.  On the undercard, the hyped Stoica brothers were both triumphant, as Andrei Stoica defeated Alex Rossi, and Bogdan Stoica took out Levio Ramoni, both via decision.  Full results here.

Next weekend, the show to watch is It's Showtime Brussels with their 61kg title on the line.  There was a NJKF show also scheduled that was to feature Tetsuya Yamato, but that show has been postponed to May 21 in light of the disaster in Japan.

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Let Jack Slack Break Down Why Verhoeven Beat Saki

  • Published in Glory

Gokhan Saki is, without a doubt, one of the best Heavyweight Kickboxers in the world, who is able to piece together amazing combinations that have floored some of the best in the world. With that being said, last night Rico Verhoeven went into his fight against Saki with a perfect game plan that was able to nullify Saki's strengths. I've spoken with a lot of fans and read a lot of reactions and I seem to be seeing a lot of "bad reffing" and "Saki got screwed" talk floating around, when in fact, Saki was not screwed at all.

A careful viewing of the fight will show that Rico controlled the first and third rounds and was able to nullify most of Saki's offense while landing the cleaner strikes. Jack Slack is always a great resource when it comes to breaking down technical stuff, which always makes me happy as I used to have to do that, but having dudes like him around means that I can focus on other things. Check out his pretty great breakdown of the fight, although I do have one small qualm; GLORY has a flash knockdown rule, which states that if a strike has the force to put a fighter down, it is ruled a knockdown. Rico's punch might have missed, but the kick before it landed and put Saki onto the math, which meant it was a flash knockdown.

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Gokhan Saki Reveals That His GLORY Contract Expired

  • Published in Glory

There have been endless rumors swirling around about GLORY over the past few months, including rumors about certain fighters' contracts expiring. This doesn't exactly mean that these fighters are going to leave GLORY, but contract negotiations are a serious thing and money does speak louder than words or promises for a lot of fighters. One of which that we've known about for a while now is Gokhan Saki. There have been issues between GLORY management and Saki's team for a while now, only for the latest to be talk of his GLORY contract expiring and him having offers from promoters in Russia and Dubai (Dubai being where he's currently training).

What better way to confirm this than straight from the man himself? In an interview with The Fight Network Gokhan Saki confirms that his contract with GLORY has ended and that he would be open to renegotiating with them -- especially considering that he's the GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion -- and fighting before the year is through. 

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Gokhan Saki Threatening Legal Protest Over Verhoeven Loss

  • Published in Glory

Saki

I've heard of fighters being unwilling to accept defeat in the past before, but Gokhan Saki's view of his fight with Rico Verhoeven has seemingly gone beyond just his denial over the loss and moved into him threatening legal action against GLORY. At GLORY 11 he faced Rico Verhoeven in the semi-finals of the GLORY 11 Heavyweight tournament, where the referee scored a controversial knockdown in favor of Rico Verhoeven. Saki firmly believes that he was screwed out of a victory and that he would have been ruled the winner if it wasn't for that knockdown.

How much does he believe this? He released a statement through Golden Glory TV today stating that he was looking into taking legal action against the organization. I'm not sure what good this would even do at this point as it was a tournament, which Verhoeven went on to win, not just a single fight. Would he want them to repeat the entire tournament just for him to have a do over? Never mind that things quite simply don't work the way that he thinks it does. This isn't a Jerome Le Banner temper tantrum in Japan, this was a fight that happened in the United States with oversight from the Illinois Athletic Commission. The Commission chose the officials for the fights and the protest would have to be filed with them (although it would absolutely fall upon deaf ears).

It seems like Saki is unwilling to let this go and there is talk of this helping to build a rift between Saki, Mike's Gym and the GLORY organization. If Saki really wants to get down to brass tacks, that same referee could have disqualified him for Saki putting his hand son him, but chose to let the fight continue with just a stern warning. It's unfortunate that Verhoeven's win will be tainted like this, as actions like this taint the situation for everyone involved; from the winner, to the organization to the loser who is protesting.

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LiverKick.com Interview with Mike Passenier

  • Published in Interviews

Mike Passenier

Like or hate him, one thing is certain, Mike Passenier is one of the biggest names in kickboxing today. Combat sports figures from many disciplines have found a home at Mike's Gym. Among the many superstars who have called his gym home names like Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Murthel Groenhart are a few of the most notable. Definitely an affable character with a penchant for quick dry wit, don't be fooled by his big smiling brown eyes and equally large grin. Mr. Passenier is a shrewd business man.

In our chat before Glory 15, Mike fielded questions regarding his plans for 2014, Badr Hari and his style of training.

SW: What are your plans for 2014?

MP: I want to do more with social media, I'm having someone work on becoming more active with that. I am also planning on expanding my gym franchise to include other locations.

His plan to expand his franchise is indicative of his calculated risk taking and no nonsense approach to life. When asked how he describes his training style, Mike characterizes his style of coaching as hands on, but demands respect from his trainees and teaches with the expectation that the fighters take responsibility for their roles in victory and defeat.

SW: Who are you currently working with?

MP: Well, there's Saki who's here for the tournament. Also still Badr Hari, Murthel and Artur Kryshenko.

SW: You also train MMA fighters... I know at one time Muhammed Lawal was training in your gym.

MP: Yes a lot of guys.

SW: Speaking of Badr, is there any truth to the rumor that he has signed to fight with Glory?

MP: No, you know people see or hear that maybe he's meeting with someone then they automatically assume that he's signed with them but not right now. Not true.

As an observer, Mike appears to train a wide variety of personality types with varying skill levels.With that observation in mind, I tried to ascertain what qualities he looks for in the fighters he takes on.. His response to this question was a bit more abstract, not identifying one or any certain combination of qualities as a predictor of success.

For those who might not take him seriously, Mike could care less! Right now he has found a formula for success and he plans to make it grow. He and his brand have risen like the mythical Phoenix from the ashes of his former gym that was lost in a fire in 2009. The new Mike's Gym is spacious and has state of the art equipment, but he also maintains respect for older, tried and true regimens that enhance strength, agility and speed among his fighters. In addition to gym facilities, Mike stated that he also has a residence at which the fighters can live while they train with him.

At the end of this interaction, Mike revealed himself to be a complex individual who surprisingly enough, when he's not motivating fighters in the gym, admits that he enjoys watching pro wrestling with his son. But again, perhaps not so surprising at all as Mike easily cops to having his own flair for building up fights and making things exciting in the ring.

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GFC Releases Card for April 17th Featuring Saki, Ilunga, Samedov and More

  • Published in Kickboxing

The wait is over for Gokhan Saki's return and it will not be in the GLORY ring but instead in the GFC ring in Dubai. On April 17th GFC will present an oddly-enough Badr Hari-free show that is headlined by another four-man tournament. Winning the tournament gains entry into an 8-man tournament later on this year that Badr Hari and Ismael Laazar have already qualified for.

What's interesting is that most of these fighters are smaller than your average Heavyweight and qualify as Light Heavyweights in most respects, especially Ilunga, who made a name for himself as It's Showtime 95kg Champion and as a GLORY Light Heavyweight contender.

Heavyweight 4 Man Tournament
Steve Mckinnon VS Zabit Samedov 
Jafar Ahmadi VS Danyo Ilunga
Superfights
Gokhan Saki VS Sebastian Ciobanu
Ismael Lazaar VS Fatih ulusoy
Andre Meunier VS Naoufal Benazzous
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Tyrone Spong Talks Loss, Inspiration and Becoming Champion at GLORY 15

  • Published in Interviews

Spong

There aren’t many fighters out there who possess the natural abilities that Tyrone Spong does, but there are many that see his position in the GLORY Light Heavyweight division and want a piece of it. Last year Tyrone Spong worked his way through an 8-man tournament at GLORY 9 New York where he went over the former It’s Showtime 95kg Champion, Danyo Ilunga, in dominant fashion. This secured Spong’s spot at the top of the heap in the world of Kickboxing’s Light Heavyweight division, which was only compounded upon when he met Nathan “Carnage” Corbett in the ring at GLORY 11.

Corbett has long-been considered the best at that weight class in Muay Thai for many years, with Corbett rarely ever competing in Kickboxing rules. A rematch against Tyrone Spong within the GLORY ring was too much for him to turn down, though. The first fight with Corbett turned into a learning experience for Spong, who showed in the rematch just how much he learned since then. He completely dominated Corbett at GLORY 11, which only makes the GLORY 15 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament that much more exciting for Kickboxing fans across the world.

Heading into the GLORY 15 Istanbul tournament you’d expect Tyrone Spong to feel overly confident, but Spong is intent on taking it very seriously. While other side of the bracket features a man that he decimated back in November against a guy who is dropping to Light Heavyweight for the first time, in his hometown, with all of the pressure being on him, Spong still sees both men as very dangerous opponents. That being said, the first thing on Spong’s mind is the very tough Brazilian fighter Saulo Cavalari. Spong realizes how big of a fight this is for Saulo, which makes him incredibly dangerous, in Spong’s view:

“He’s young, he’s hungry and this is the biggest fight of his life,” Spong explains. “But for me? This is just another fight. You know, I’ve fought the best, I’ve beaten the best in the world, so this is just another fight for me. For him this is the biggest fight of his life. That makes him very dangerous.”

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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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