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Keys to Victory: Daniel Ghita

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hersdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the first in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Daniel Ghita.

Strengths:

Kicks - Daniel has won many of his fights with his devastating leg kicks. He basically ran through the whole 2009 K-1 Tokyo Qualifying Grand Prix in record time using them. Watching his fights, you'll often see the effects of his low kicks start to show on his opponents after just a few of them landing. Against Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 WGP Final, we also saw how brutal those kicks can be when Daniel attacks the body. Even though Gokhan earned the tough victory, his body was so abused that he had nothing to give against Alistair Overeem in the semifinal's and had to concede defeat early in the first round.

Hands - On the flip side of that, there have been times where Ghita would rely solely on his kicks and not use his hands enough. That has changed recently as we saw Daniel knock out Errol Zimmerman at the 2010 K-1 WGP Final 16 with a nasty straight right that proved to everyone Ghita's hands had arrived.

Chin - With only one knockout loss on his record, Ghita has a tough chin and can take as much punishment as he gives out. This durability combined with his knockout power, makes Daniel a threat from bell to bell.

Size - At 6'5" and 240, Ghita has the height and mass to contend with any fighter he takes on.

Weaknesses:

Complacency - In the past, there were times when Ghita appeared to put it on cruise when his offense wasn't paying dividends. Almost seeming to ride out a decision. Thankfully, I haven't seen this from Daniel in quite awhile and I don't anticipate it happening against Hesdy, either. I think we'll see a very hungry Daniel Ghita.

Conditioning - The great equalizer, especially among heavyweights. We saw Ghita run out of steam towards the end of the Saki fight which may have cost him the decision. To Daniel's defense, it was widely speculated that he was sick going into that fight which would surely hinder his conditioning.

Keys to Victory:

For Daniel Ghita to take home a win against the It's Showtime Heavyweight Champion, he'll need to use his crushing leg kicks to slow the athletic and aggressive Gerges. Once Hesdy starts to feel his legs start to slow down, Daniel will be able to move in and put his hands to work alongside those mighty kicks. Although Gerges is the taller fighter, he is not built as big as Daniel. Ghita can attack the body of Gerges with kicks and punches to tear him down; much like Ghita did against Gokhan Saki.

If Daniel is able to stick to this gameplan, I believe he will be victorious on March 6th.

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Video: Artem Levin vs. Kaoklai

Here is a fight from last weekend that slipped under the radar: It's Showtime 77kg champion Artem Levin vs. WBC Muay Thai World Light Heavyweight champion Kaoklai Kaennorsing.  The fight was 5 rounds, full Muay Thai rules for Kaoklai's WBC title and took place at an event in Russia.

Levin came in off a career best year in 2010 that saw him quickly rise up the ranks.  In the last year, Levin claimed both the It's Showtime title and the Gold medal at the SportAccord Combat Games. Along the way he defeated two men who could each make a solid claim for being #1 at 77kg: Yodsaenklai Fairtex and L'houcine Ouzgni.  He's on a 12 fight win streak, and has to be considered the top man at 77kg at this point.

Kaoklai is a Muay Thai legend who K-1 fans may best know for his surprising 2004/2005 K-1 Grand Prix runs.  He's in the twilight of his superb career, although he did put together a 5-0 record in 2010 and is not yet completely finished.

Analysis after the jump.

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Bonjasky: "It's a small chance I will return"

Remy BonjaskyFor over a year now we've been hearing news of the possible retirement of Remy Bonjasky.  The 3 time K-1 Grand Prix champion started talking retirement in early 2010, citing a recurring eye injury that has required multiple surgeries and threatens his long-term vision.  He's been on the sidelines for well over a year now, having not fought since the 2009 GP, instead taking jobs as a host for It's Showtime events, a celebrity ice skater, and running his gym.

This past weekend, Kombat.ro caught up with Bonjasky at an event and asked him about his future plans.  For fans of The Flying Dutchman, the news was not good:

"It's a small chance I will return to the ring... maybe, you never know.  If the money's right, I'll be there."

Earlier this year, It's Showtime's Simon Rutz told us that he tried to set up a retirement fight for Bonjasky last year, but the money Remy asked for was too high. Since It's Showtime isn't willing to pay, and given K-1's financial troubles, I think we've likely seen the end of the line for Bonjasky.  It's a shame that he may go out without one final fight, as his last was an unimpressive, largely forgotten showing against Semmy Schilt.  Bonjasky has a lot of detractors, but he's one of K-1's all time greats, and deserves a bigger farewell.

Also of note - Bonjasky ends the interview with one more dig at his rival Badr Hari.  The interviewer asks Remy about Bogdan Stoica, who defeated Bonjasky's student at the event, saying Ray Sefo and Mighty Mo called Stoica the next Badr Hari.  Remy's response: "I hope not... he doesn't respect the rules, and I hope this guy will respect the rules."

Watch the full interview here.

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It's Official: Hesdy Gerges Will Be Released and Fight Daniel Ghita on March 6th

It's Showtime officially announced that Hesdy Gerges will be released tomorrow and will indeed be fighting Daniel Ghita on March 6th in Amsterdam.

Gerges was arrested because of possible involvement in a drug trafficking ring that included his half brother Ashraf.

Throughout this ordeal, Simon Rutz of It's Showtime has maintained he believes that Hesdy is innocent. His persistence appears to be well founded.

This is an intriguing fight and one I'm very excited to see. Both men are in the prime of their careers and fighting on a high level. Ghita comes in off of an absolute war against Gokhan Saki at the K-1 WGP Final, where he fell just short of victory. Gerges' last fight, also at the K-1 WGP Final, showcased him laying an absolute beating on Yusuke Fujimoto and ending the fight by TKO in the first round.

While K-1's future is mired in uncertainty, It's Showtime is poised for a big year and already have marquee fights lined for the future including stars such as Badr Hari, Giorgio Petrosyan, Daniel Ghita, and others. I suggest you keep an eye on their website, follow them on twitter, and friend them on Facebook. Simon Rutz and company are doing big things this year.

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