This Saturday, January 28th in Leeuwarden, Holland Daniel Ghita and Hesdy Gerges will face off for the It's Showtime World Heavyweight Title. This isn't the first time they've met, however.
Daniel Ghita and Hesdy Gerges first fought on March 6th, 2011 at the Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam. Gerges came into the bout the It's Showtime World Heavyweight Champion, thanks to being on the receiving end of a Badr Hari soccer kick in May of 2010. Both Ghita and Gerges were right below the top, and both wanted to establish themselves as elite fighters in the heavyweight division. They both shared a common history coming into the fight, as they'd both competed in the K-1 World GP in 2010, and both lost to elite fighters in Semmy Schilt and Gokhan Saki. The fight would move one fighter into the "elite" category, and one in the same position of right below the elite...Well, that's how it was supposed to be.
The first round started quickly, with kicks to the legs and body being traded left and right. Both fighters, known as kickers, tried to show the evolution of their games by mixing in punches to the body and head. The pace was furious and neither would back up, standing in front of one another trading shots with a speed that isn't normally seen in the heavyweight division. The round as a whole was contested very evenly, and you'd be hard pressed to pick a clear winner. Neither fighter would let the other get ahead. One would throw a combination, the other would answer right back.
Round 2 started off much like the second round, guns ablazing. Gerges started to land cleanly with some big punches. Then, in a situation reminiscent of Ricardo Mayorga against Vernon Forrest, Daniel Ghita stood right in front of Gerges, dropped his hands and motioned him to punch him in the face. Gerges obliged with four huge punches while Ghita stood there and ate them. Shots continued to be traded back and forth, until the determing factor of the fight took place. Gerges went for a knee and it landed straight in the junk of Daniel Ghita. Ghita went down, but surprisingly the referee administered a count, pretty much sealing the round as a 10-8 for Gerges. Ghita was noticeably hindered by the low blow and both fighters started to feel the effects of the pace. Two rounds down and Gerges was up because of the count given to Ghita.
The third started off much like the previous two rounds, fast and furious. Ghita began to take over about a minute in with a series of brutal body punches that had pain written all over Gerges' face. Gerges felt the effects of Ghita's body attack and slowed down whilst still trying to fight back, landing a few big punches. Ghita's body attack continued and he landed a big right hand on the chin of Gerges, who dropped his hands and stuck his tongue, signifying that Ghita would have to work much harder to get him out of there. The fight turned to a close and everyone watching knew they'd just witnessed a classic.
Talk of an extra round filled the ring, with Anil Dubar telling Daniel Ghita to get ready to keep fighting. Joeren Post grabbed the mic and announced Hesdy Gerges as the winner by unanimous decision. Dissatisfaction filled the venue, with boos directed towards the decision and Ghita very quickly exiting the ring, his face covered in disgust. A 10-9 for Daniel Ghita in the first would've made the fight a draw and an extra round would've ensued. Most importantly, we have a whole different fight on our hands if the low blow on Ghita wasn't counted as a knockdown. Adding to that, the fight was not a title fight for whatever reason so it was only three rounds.
The win on Gerges' record is tainted to many for these very reasons. What better way to settle the score than a rematch with the It's Showtime World Heavyweight Title on the line? That means this time Daniel Ghita and Hesdy Gerges will have five rounds to battle it out and determine the true winner.
The times have changed. Daniel Ghita is widely regarded as an elite fighter now. Hesdy Gerges' stock has dropped a bit however, based on his shocking loss to Rico Verhoeven in November. Although most thought Gerges won, inconsistency has plagued him in the past and he wasn't looking in top form for this fight. As a result of the loss, Gerges plummeted to #8 on the Liverkick rankings while Ghita took his spot at #5. Hesdy Gerges desperately wants to once and for all cement himself as an elite fighter. Daniel Ghita badly wants to take that loss back. Tune in on January 28th and witness the rematch of a classic.
Video of Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges I below.