There have been a lot of rumors about Gokhan Saki lately, with the biggest one that he was looking to move into another sport. At first it was MMA, as Saki had talked about moving into the MMA world and singled out Melvin Manhoef as a possible opponent, jesting that he'd armbar Manhoef, whose kryptonite has been the armbar throughout his MMA career. That talk quickly died down, though, and then the Boxing talk started. A recent interview with FightHype confirms that Saki is planning his big move to Heavyweight Boxing after his fight with Badr Hari in January. It isn't clear if he is leaving Kickboxing altogether or if he'll still take Kickboxing fights, but he does seem very serious about Boxing.
“It’s been difficult and uncertain how kickboxing will develop in the near future, as well as in a long run. Besides, I feel there isn’t a lot of competition for me anymore. I want to develop my skills and possibilities into new heights…Heavyweight boxing nowadays is very pitiful. The Klitschko brothers are very smart guys and very professional athletes. Nevertheless, both of them I will fight and they won’t make the 12th round. For me, it is unbelievable how both David Haye and Tomasz Adamek fought their fights. If one of these brothers would dare to fight me, I’ll get in the ring in no time. Boxing is really sad nowadays. One of the Klitschko brothers has fought in kickboxing. Watch him on YouTube. You will laugh your butt of. And think how long they would last against me? And in the boxing game, it will be the same thing…boxing requires adjustments in style, intensity, and the way you move. Adapting to this won’t be a problem, but needs time and with help from the best in the boxing industry, I’ll be able to accomplish this…I will destroy everybody. From a boxing perspective, I reflect on the Mike Tyson fights and how to make it a war with the tall guys. No kicks, no knees, no problem; who dares to fight me,” stated K-1 stand-out Gökhan Saki, who made it clear that he too is eager to make the transition from kickboxing to boxing after his rematch with Badr Hari in January. [source]
Manhoef and Saki are monsters in the ring. They both bring a unique brand of intensity to their contests and whoever thought of matching these two against each other was responsible for an act of minor genius. Who wouldn't want to see two knockout artists, both capable of powerful, flowing, knockout combinations, go to work on each other?
At the time, Manhoef was a slightly more established name than Saki, though the latter's name was on the rise. Manhoef was known in kickboxing circles for his trilogy with Remy Bonjasky, and was also responsible for one of the most violent knockouts in K-1 history in his 2007 match with Ruslan Karaev. Rather frighteningly, every one of his kickboxing victories is a knockout or stoppage of some sort. His record speaks to spotty defense, however, and most of his losses have also come by stoppages, making a Manhoef match an unpredictable affair.
Gokhan Saki's first win over a major name in K-1 was against Alexei Ignashov in 2006. Since then, he's really come into his own as a smaller fighter in the super heavyweight division. He's beaten Paul Slowinski, Ruslan Karaev, Ray Sefo, and Tyrone Spong since then. 2010 saw him put on his best performances yet, with a swift destruction of Freddy Kemayo and a four round war against Daniel Ghita.
Were the two to rematch now, Saki would be a heavy favorite, but at the time of this match, it was a much closer contest, especially since they were fully capable of KOing each other. Saki wears the blue gloves in the bout, Manhoef the red. Note that, even though Saki is already small for a K-1 super heavy, he still carries about 20 lb over Manhoef and stands 3 inches taller.
GLORY packed an arena in Istanbul, Turkey at GLORY 15 Istanbul, with passionate fans who wanted to see their hometown hero take home the gold. They got just that when Gokhan Saki won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. So let's take a look back at what was GLORY 15 with their super-passionate Turkish crowd. It's great to see Saki celebrating backstage after winning the championship, for sure.