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LiverKick Talks With Glory's Gokhan Saki

SakiGokhan Saki put on an impressive performance this weekend against Mourad Bouzidi, his first fight since moving from training with Team Golden Glory under the watchful eye of Cor Hemmers to Mike's Gym under Mike Passenier. This new team switch can be tough for some fighters, but for Saki, it seemed like business-as-usual. Our European correspondents Umut Ismik and Birol Topuz caught up with Saki after his fight to ask him a few questions, and if you know Saki, you know he tells it how it is.

LK: How has training at Mike's Gym been different than training with Golden Glory?

GS: After 10 years of working with Cor it was time for a change and when Cor told me that he accepted a function in the staff of Glory it became clear to me. I needed to think for myself for once in my life so I went to Mike. Everybody said that I was crazy but I believed in myself and in Mike of course. It was hard in the beginning but Mike did his best to make me feel at home so I made an extra effort to fit in and it worked so far. There is no way in hell to compare these two(Mike and Cor), you have to experience it to know.

LK: Is there anything different that fans should expect to see in Gokhan Saki's style since the gym change?

GS: After my first fight everybody including Cor was very excited so there must be something right. I will always fight like the old Saki because that style is what brought me my enormous fanbase. I'll never change that and Mike doesn't want to change that either. I am just evolving. I will take my style to the next level and maybe some levels more. Ha ha ha. So sit back, relax and enjoy. 


LiverKick Talks with K-1's Randy Blake

Randy Blake

Randy Blake is a name that if you follow Kickboxing in the United States, you’ve heard it before. You’ve heard him talked about as an up-and-comer, a real talent and a guy who is going to make an impact on the world. He fought in the WCL when he was just 21 years old, and for the past few years has been making his impact on the Oklahoma scene, but hasn’t left home much. That all changed this past weekend when K-1 brought Randy Blake into the fold, pairing him up against K-1 USA veteran Dewey Cooper.

LiverKick caught up with Randy Blake this afternoon and spoke with him about his big win over Dewey Cooper at the K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles, his future with K-1, his outlook for Kickboxing and much more.

“I felt pretty good after that win,” Blake stated. “Felt like I had a whole lot of pride on the line this weekend, like there was a big question mark on my head; are you ready for it? Are you big enough? Can you really do this? I stepped up to the plate on Saturday.”

Without a doubt, Blake stepped up to the plate. He has had a good, storied young career, making the unique decision to fight Kickboxing as opposed to MMA when a lot of fighters his age would simply choose to move over to MMA where there is more money and opportunities, but the return of K-1 and them scouting him has changed everything.

“Yeah, K-1 calling me up and putting on a show this big justified my decision to Kickbox,” Blake said, before reflecting on some decisions he was on the verge of making about his career. “I was getting to the point where I was gonna have to eventually jump to MMA. We had been talking about making that jump for a while now, but now that K-1 is back, I don’t have to. I feel blessed that K-1 is here.”


Eduard Irimia's Special Report From K-1 In Los Angeles

K-1's US Grand Prix in Los Angeles went down on last Saturday, September 8 in Los Angeles at the LA Sports Arena. One guest who was present was Eduard Irimia, the owner and promoter of SuperKombat. SuperKombat recently entered a partnership with K-1 and Irimia was on hand to see for himself what the new K-1 had to offer.

Here at LiverKick, we were lucky enough to get an exclusive report from Eduard Irimia on his evaluation of the event and the new K-1 as an organization. Here's what he had to say:

Eduard Irimia: "We decided to come a few days early to Los Angeles to see the logistics that K-1 has. I was not particularly interested in fights, but I was curious about the the technique that K-1 Global has. Knowing how I can do in Europe with SuperKombat, it was important for me to know whether Asia and America are good in regards to logistics for the future, especially for TV and for the public interest of this event.

Basically, the K-1 Global event in Los Angeles was an exam. Even if it seems impossible to get a big attendance with a fight card without big names, it was shown that with proper promotion and marketing, K-1 managed to get 7000 people in the arena.

Frankly, I was surprised to see how many good things they managed to do at K-1 Global fight card with a fight card like this. They took newcomers selected at the tryouts by the beach, without having any fights ever before in kickboxing. For Jarrel Miller I can say that I see a great future, but I noticed Blake, Vigney, and James Wilson, who is like Catalin Morosanu, and they can progress more in the coming years.

K-1 Los Angeles was the perfect time to re-introduce America to this sport, and I can say it was a success. A lot of people expected this to be like a World Grand Prix show from Japan, but the idea was for a pre-selection event in an attempt to discover new heroes and also to excite the interest of Americans. The result was a good one. In Los Angeles, television and newspapers have commented more on this event, even though, again, it was without big names.

As for the impact, I think it was the best K-1 event ever organized in the United States, but not in terms of sports, but in terms of organization. The only negative point that I could mention is the fact that they announced the four winners of the heavyweight fights will go to Tokyo for the Final 16, but have done a match of two veterans face to face instead of a veteran against a rival of the newer wave.

Although there will be some who will criticize the event, I think it was made a good step to the recovery of K-1 in the U.S. market, especially the entertainment aspect as a spectacular athlete like Miller can perform very well. In addition, this was an event preparation for the grand final which will take place on December 26 in New York.

As a novelty, the discussions that we had with Mike Kim, owner of K-1 Global, include an announcement soon with a large television network in China. This after they signed a partnership with Spike, so progress is evident. We will promote the finals in New York and SuperKombat events on 20 October, 10 November and 8 December because we believe in the recovery of K-1.

In the end, beyond the ideas listed at K-1 in Los Angeles, I have to mention that between SuperKombat and K-1 there is a cooperation agreement, and it is not financial. Thus, SuperKombat GP champions will arrive at the K-1 Final 16 and K-1 heroes will fight in SuperKombat to stay in shape before the big event at the end of the year. It’s a reciprocity for this sport to return to its glory years."

Read more... Interviews SuperKombat's Andrei Stoica


We caught up with Andrei Stoica, one half of the SuperKombat stars, the Stoica brothers. Andrei has a fight coming up on October 20 for SuperKombat. We asked him about that and also about the new partnership between SuperKombat and K-1, his brother and training partners and his status as a star in Romania.

LK: Now that SuperKombat and K-1 have a partnership, what do you think about fighting in K-1?

AS: I would be honored to fight in K-1. For me it would be a dream come true! We'll see if the organizers will give me the chance to fight in the K-1 Final 16! I told you, it's my dream!

LK: Usually in SuperKombat you fight at -95kg but now that K-1 has a partnership with SuperKombat, would you fight at heavyweight with much bigger fighters?

AS: For me it's not a problem to fight opponents heavier than me. I always do that! I will try to gain extra pounds and I will be good for heavyweight in the near future!

LK: After the fight with Hakan Aksoy, you said that you were "not yourself" in your previous fights. Can you go into detail about what you meant by that, and why you said that?

AS: I had a difficult period, it is personal and I can not go into detail. I was weak and due to stress, I fought against opponents heavier and the weight difference was observed! But now it will be fine. You will see another Andrei Stoica. I will be in my best shape.

LK: You have a fight on October 20 for SuperKombat, but you will not be able to train with your brother Bogdan for this fight, as he is injured. Will this make much of a difference?

AS: I regret that my brother is injured. It's hard to train without him, but it will motivate me even more and I will train twice as hard. His absence will count but I am optimistic.

LK: What is it like to see your friends and training partners like Benny Adegbuyi be successful lately?

AS: Every one of us will get the chance to be a hero. Now it is Benny's turn. I'm very happy because my colleagues are progressing near me. Also, I get more experience with them. We grow up together.

LK: There is also discussion of the 85kg weight class coming to K-1 soon, maybe next year. You have fought at that weight before, are you able to still make 85kg and willing to fight there if it's in K-1?

AS: If my coach wants me to fight at 85 kg I will. But for now we focus on heavyweight, and we think we do a pretty good job! It's a good initiative to bring this weight category to K-1. For me it is a fascinating class with technique, and strength and speed. What could be better?

LK: SuperKombat has made you a star in Romania, what does that feel like?

AS: I'm glad and I also thank Mr. Irimia who gave me the chance to fight in SuperKombat. I can only say I am glad they are appreciating me in my country and also abroad. I hope the SuperKombat team will continue to do the same job, as they did before.


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