Gokhan SAKI and Daniel GHITA to collide in ISTANBUL
For the second time in their careers, heavyweight superstar rivals Gokhan Saki (79-16, 55 KOs) of the Netherlands and Daniel Ghita (46-8, 35 KOs) of Romania will collide in the ring, in the main event of GLORY 6 Istanbul on Saturday April 6, it was confirmed today by Glory Sports International (GSI).
Just over two years after their December 2010 fight, Saki and Ghita will reprise their roles as adversaries in a meeting that will have the attention of fight fans all over the world. Their first clash was an instant classic and this rematch has an added edge because a shot at the GLORY World Heavyweight Title is on the line for the winner.
“Daniel Ghita is ranked No. 2 in the world and Gokhan Saki is ranked No. 3, so this fight will determine which of them is to go on and become the top contender for the GLORY World Heavyweight Title currently held by world No. 1 Semmy Schilt,” says Marcus Luer, Managing Director of GSI.
“Both of these fighters are absolutely at the peak of their games right now. You only have to look at their performances in the GLORY Heavyweight Grand Slam in Tokyo on New Year’s Eve. Saki scored two lightning-quick KOs before exiting in the semi-final stage and Ghita stopped two of his three opponents to earn a spot in the championship round of the event.
“The GLORY Heavyweight Championship is the most prestigious belt in kickboxing today and they want it badly - they just have to go through each other to get it.”
Saki was raised in the Netherlands but is of Turkish heritage and is very proud of his roots. He is a big name in his ancestral land and will quickly find himself being mobbed for pictures and autographs if he wanders the streets of a big city. Ghita is entering the lion’s den by agreeing to face Saki in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, but the former bodyguard to the Romanian president knows no fear.
Both fighters saw the New Year in with a bang via their performances in the Grand Slam. Saki demolished Japanese contender Raoumaru in the opening stage and then flattened top Brazilian heavyweight Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva. He was scoring well against Schilt, but the judges had Schilt winning the first two rounds, and so Schilt advanced to the final under the ‘Best of Three Rounds’ tournament rule.
Ghita’s New Year’s Eve tournament run started with a surprisingly vicious challenge from young Jhonata Diniz of Curitiba, Brazil, who established himself as one to watch but was ultimately beaten by the Romanian. Ghita then faced Mourad Bouzidi and dislocated the Tunisian’s shoulder with an uppercut before facing Moroccan prospect Jamal Ben Saddik and taking him out in 10 seconds with a liver kick.
In the evening’s championship bout with Schilt, the fight was competitive until 11 seconds from the end of the first round when Ghita took a clean head-kick from the giant karateka and was dropped hard. He beat the count and wanted to continue but the referee declared the fight to be over, much to Ghita’s dismay.
“I can’t wait to fight at the Ulker Sports Arena in April,” says Saki. “The atmosphere is going to be incredible and I am going to put on a big show for all the Turkish fans. I give credit to Ghita for agreeing to face me in Istanbul but it was a mistake. I’m looking for a big KO; Istanbul is my town.”
Ghita remarked, “I don’t expect to hear too many people cheering for me when I walk into the arena on April 6 and I think it will be even quieter when I win the fight. I respect Saki very much but I’m going to win this fight and I’m going to get the title shot.”