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Gokhan Saki Confirms He's Following Badr Hari to Boxing

SakiThere 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]

K-1 World Grand Prix in Nanjing Looking to Be a "Go"

K-1 NanjingThe world of K-1 is a strange one recently, with lots of rumors swirling around about the future of the company and the future of the shows. The most pressing matter is the K-1 World Grand Prix FInal 16, which is just a few weeks away. The most recent rumor was that the arena was not booked yet and the show was in doubt of even happening. It's Showtime issued a press release reporting on Badr Hari's retirement, but also that the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 that Simon Rutz was helping out with might not happen if FEG's debts to It's Showtime were not paid. It makes sense with the amount of fighters being sent to the show to help fulfill their It's Showtime contracts.

By the looks of it, the doubts of the arena being booked are possibly null and void. There has been a seating chart floating around as well as ticket prices within China, while they haven't been posted on K-1's main site yet nor on the Nanjing Arena's site. FEG personnel has also been active recently in contacting fighters and management about the upcoming event, with no signs of the event not happening. There is also a video advertisement that has been airing on Chinese television (credit to Rian for the find).

There is also a strong rumor that there could be a big shake-up within K-1's organization this week, it isn't clear if this is the big "sale" that has been rumored for most of the summer or a possible big investor jumping aboard to help out. If things pan out as rumored, we will know by mid-week what is happening with K-1, and it would not be a surprise if K-1 received another big boost of funds, a new possible owner or some internal shakeups that have been straightening things out.


Badr Hari’s Boxing Transition an Uphill Battle, But He Knows That

Badr HariThe news broke earlier today that Badr Hari would be hanging up his Kickboxing gloves to take up a pair of shiny new Boxing gloves and move his training and focus to the United States. To many this was a shock, but there have been signs of this move for a long time now. Originally Badr Hari was considering making a run for the Moroccan Olympic Boxing Team, but his stint in prison and legal troubles were enough to force him away from that idea.

In an interview with Michael Schiavello earlier this year, Badr Hari spoke about how he was a huge Boxing fan and followed the sport very closely, especially the Heavyweights. He couldn’t say the same for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, where he could not even recognize the bigger stars, or the sport of Kickboxing where he only followed where he needed to for upcoming fights. Then there was an interview in August with FightHype where he spoke out about some Heavyweight Boxing contenders like Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek was if he were ready to run right through them right now.

Badr Hari’s heart was set on being a Heavyweight Boxer and there was no one in the world who was going to stop him.

His announcement came from Kickboxing organization It’s Showtime, who also handle his management and will no doubt have a hand in his boxing career and caused a lot of stir throughout the internet. Some sites are proclaiming Badr’s move as a part of the mass exodus from Kickboxing to MMA while others are taking a look at Badr Hari’s kickboxing fights to determine that he will become a failure at another sport.

The truth is, the transition from Kickboxing to Boxing is not an easy one, nor is it one that we’ve seen happen with a great deal of success. There have been a few cross overs from Mixed Martial Arts such as Kimbo Slice and KJ Noons, but the sample size is far too small to come to any real conclusion. Boxing or Kickboxing into MMA is a much more logical move for many fighters as opposed to the other way around. Working in grappling and takedown defense into a striking discipline is a lot easier than transitioning from the more “loose” striking styles in MMA to the tighter striking of Kickboxing or Boxing.

The transition from Kickboxing to Boxing can be said to be similar, as Kickboxing or Muay Thai employee different stances and entirely different approaches to striking than Boxing does. In any sort of kick fighting, the stance needs to compensate for incoming kicks as well as throwing kicks or knee strikes. This means that the front leg is not rested upon as heavily to check a leg kick or to begin the momentum shift into throwing a kick with the back leg. This also means that footwork is vastly different as is foot speed, as it is more difficult to move quickly while staying poised in position to kick or check a kick. A Boxer has more ability to move and use his feet as a tool for movement, not for giving and receiving damage.

In Kickboxing this also means that your hands will be positioned differently when worried about incoming kicks to the mid section or head. Kickboxing can often times be a distance game as the reach of a fighters’ legs is vastly superior to that of their arms (in most cases). Blocking a kick to the midsection will often times involve catching the leg underneath the arm near the armpit or deflecting through movement. Compared to Boxing where there is a lot less range fighting and a lot more close fighting and technical hand work, Kickboxing defense can seem a bit odd and “open.” Kicks come in hard and fast while an opponent has distance and defenses need to take that into account and be switched when the fighters are in close. A Boxer keeps his hands lower than a Kickboxer in most cases, with their hands in tight to their body to help deflect body shots or head shots in a quick, efficient manner.

It is impossible to judge where Badr Hari will be when he steps into the Boxing ring, though. Without a doubt Badr Hari understands these differences and will need to take a lot of hard work, dedication and most importantly time to make sure he is ready for the rigors of professional boxing. A big question mark is Badr Hari’s chin, which has been tested and crushed on a few occasions, but good defense in many cases can make up for this. Badr Hari’s punching technique will need to be tightened up as will his defenses, but to judge these details from his Kickboxing work may be premature and crass at best.

Many should be reminded that Badr Hari has yet to even announce his Boxing debut and it could be quite a ways off. For now sit back and enjoy his last few fights within the realm of Kickboxing and remind yourself that retirements in combat sports don’t often stick, for the right amount of money it is fair to assume Badr Hari could step into a Kickboxing ring again.


Badr Hari Retires From Kickboxing to Begin Boxing Career

Not many events in the kickboxing world can leave you speechless, but the retirement of one of Heavyweight Kickboxing's biggest stars in the past ten years will do just that. The big secret announcement from It's Showtime was originally scheduled for Friday but was then pushed back to today. In the meantime, word got out that Badr Hari would take on Gokhan Saki on January 28th for It's Showtime. To many, this was the big announcement that It's Showtime was trying to keep under wraps, but it would turn out to be much bigger.

Badr Hari has spoken about his desire to enter the world of Boxing for a long time now, much more seriously over the past year. This includes talk of possible Olympic Boxing that seemed to die off and talking with Michael Schiavello in a Voice Versus episode about possibly leaving kickboxing for boxing. Add in the steady decline of K-1 over the past few years and Badr Hari's legal troubles and kickboxing became less and less his passion.

Tonight It's Showtime sent around a press release announcing Badr Hari's retirement from kickboxing on January 28th against his hand-selected opponent of Gokhan Saki. The irony is, of course, that Gokhan Saki might do exactly the same thing next year and pass on Kickboxing to enter into the Boxing or MMA world. It's Showtime also casts some serious doubt onto the possibility of the K-1 World Grand Prix;

If K-1 will host a World Grand Prix this year, Badr will also participate to that. The Grand Prix Final is scheduled for December 10 in China. If this World Grand Prix will take place, depends if K-1 will be able to pay its debts to IT’S SHOWTIME and others. If not, the fight on January 28 will be Badr’s only remaining fight as a kickboxer.

This is huge, if not crushing news to kickboxing fans around the world and good news for Boxing.


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