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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 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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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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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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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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Watch StillWill's Awesome New Gokhan Saki Highlight Reel

  • Published in Video

Everyone who watches highlight reels knows that for MMA, it is hard to beat LayzietheSavage, but the world of kickboxing has a new hero who has emerged over the past year or so, and that is user StillWill. You might know him as the guy who won all of the awesome It's Showtime gear in our recent contest, or the guy who did the awesome Badr Hari and Melvin Manhoef tribute vids. Well, he is back, and the latest video is a Godkhan Saki video.

If you aren't familiar with Gokhan Saki, this video gives you and up close and personal view of just how incredible "The Rebel" is and why we are all huge fans of him. [source]

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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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