As you may or may not know by now, Gokhan Saki has stated that after his January 28 fight with Badr Hari, he'll head to boxing. While Saki didn't confirm if he would be done kickboxing for good, the thought of Gokhan Saki giving boxing a go is an interesting avenue. He revealed the news in an interview with fighthype.com and subsequently fired shots at some of boxing's best in the heavyweight division. Among many of the things he had to say, here is one quote that I examine in a different light:
"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."
Now, upon reading this quote, it's apparent that Saki wants to go straight forward into the heavyweight division. He's fought his entire career in kickboxing as an undersized heavyweight because the pinnacle of the sport, K-1, only has the open weight heavyweight division. Other divisions like -95kg and -85kg just don't have the money behind them like the K-1 World Grand Prix does (or technically did) at one point. In boxing, Saki would have an opportunity to fight in the cruiserweight division, in which the weight limit is 200 lbs, yet he seems to want to fight at heavyweight. It's not a surprising choice, as heavyweight just has that significant air about it and cruiserweight is one of the least popular weight divisions.
At cruiserweight though, Saki would actually not be at a size disadvantage for once. This would probably benefit him in the power department as well. Though he would have a speed advantage over heavyweights, the size difference is just a literally huge thing to overcome. Also like the heavyweight division, cruiserweight is quite shallow.
Cruiserweight is not the dead division that some like to point out also. While it is one of the least popular divisions, Germany has taken the cruiserweights as their own. A few notable cruiserweights are based out of Germany: Marco Huck, Enad Licina and Yoan Pablo Hernandez. Marco Huck always draws great crowds with good television ratings while Yoan Pablo Hernandez fought just this past weekend against Steve Cunningham, another top cruiserweight and there was a great crowd on hand. Mind you that the fight was on a card with other stars of German boxing, something that can be capitalized on for the division. Most of the top cruiserweight fights take place in Germany and with a large Turkish population, its not out of the question that Saki could develop a following in Deutschland. He could even possibly fight in Turkey, where
Now this is all just hypothetical talk. As far as Saki's chances of making it big in boxing, the odds are stacked against him, much like they are with Badr Hari. Going from kickboxing to boxing is completely changing in ring factors such as footwork and distance with the absence of kicks and knees. These aren't just things that will be adjusted quickly either. There's so many variables between the two sports; more than you would think. One can't just stop throwing kicks and knees and expect to be able to just fight with hands. Modern kickboxing, the Dutch style especially, emphasizes less movement which is really an essential factor of boxing. It's normal in Dutch kickboxing for fighters to stand in front of one another and just take turns trading shots. Stuff like that just doesn't work a technical boxer.
It's going to be a long road for guys like Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki to be at the top of boxing; a road that seems improbable. We'll never know until it happens though. Who would've expected that Matt Skelton, not even a top guy in K-1 would go on to have quite a respectable boxing career, winning the British and European heavyweight titles at one point, even challenging for a world title once at such an old age for a fighter? Nothing is impossible and we at Liverkick.com wish Gokhan Saki the best in his move to boxing.