Two days ago we did a pretty big interview with Gökhan Saki. During this interview Saki looks back at GLORY 15 Istanbul where he fought Tyrone Spong for the Light-Heavyweight belt, which unfortunately ended Tyrone’s kickboxing career. He also gives his opinion about Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky, explains why the Saulo Cavalari fight never happened and talks about his future ambitions in GLORY Kickboxing.
KP: What exactly have you been up to the last 2 years?
Saki: I’m currently living in Istanbul and Dubai. I trained a lot and I helped training others as well. Of course I didn’t train with the same intensity as when you’re training for a fight. I also struggled with some old injuries but that’s a part of the sport you need to accept as a fighter.
KP: On the videos you posted to Social Media we mainly saw u boxing not necessarily kickboxing, did you ever considered a boxing career?
Saki: Boxing is amazing, it’s an art form but I think I should’ve made a career switch 5 years ago when I was 27. Now it’s too late for that.
KP: Are you still in contact with Tyrone Spong after your last fight in Istanbul at GLORY 15?
Saki: We’re actually quite often in contact with each other. Also through Instagram we’re responding to each other’s post and stuff like that. He’s a great dude and a very hard worker.
KP: Imagine Tyrone wants a rematch with you under boxing rules, what would you do?
Saki: Lets do it.
KP: You probably got lots of positive reactions after your perfect display of sportsmanship during the Spong fight?
Saki: There are fighters who are always happy after a win, no matter how they did it. I’m not like that. First thing I thought when it happened was, fuck… his career. I got to be honest I felt really shitty for a while. Tyrone is a beast I know he will come back stronger.
KP: After GLORY 26 Amsterdam, Glory announced a title fight between you and Saulo Cavalari. Why did this never happened?
Saki: The following went wrong: Imagine you sign a contract at a promotion for 5 fights and you agree on a amount of € 500.000 per fight for instance. When the last fight takes place the organization says, sorry we’re going to reorganize, we can only offer you € 50.000 for your last fight.
I could understand the situation but in my opinion the difference between my contract and the new offer was too big. Eventually Glory and I weren’t able to agree on a new paycheck for my last fight.
If you want to buy a big show with a Ferrari you shouldn’t come with the budget of a Suzuki. I think my point is clear now. I trained many hours over the years and fought a lot of times to eventually make a name for myself. I’m Gokhan Saki and I know what I’m worth.
Right before the Cavalari fight I got injured unfortunately. I started to recover and meanwhile I saw Saulo Cavalari fight someone else. To be honest, watching this fight didn’t got me motivated at all. This isn’t the level of fighting I’m going to work off my ass for in the gym right?!
KP: It seems all the motivation is back lately since you’re challenging Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky right after each other on Social Media. Why now all of a sudden?
Saki: Well, I already won the Glory Light-Heavyweight belt, so going for the Heavyweight belt and becoming a champion in 2 weight classes is what gets me going now. Remy Bonjasky is a legend in the sport and it would be an interesting rematch in my opinion. Let’s see who wins now.
I mainly chose this moment because kickboxing was very popular and in a lot of media attention at the end of 2016. Mainly because of Badr’s return and the GLORY Collision event of course. It just seemed to be a good moment for me. If you have a very nice TV show, you’re also not going to stream it at 02:00 at night right?
KP: Remy accepted your challenge. Are you already negotiating wit Glory about this epic rematch?
Saki: If Remy can agree with Glory, we can fight. I would like to have this match as soon as possible. At least before June this year.
KP: You didn’t hear anything from Rico right? What’s your opinion about this?
Saki: Not a very good show of character. On TV he says he’s not going to walk away from a challenge, but I haven’t heard anything from him thus far. He’s knocking on everyone’s door like a Jehovah witness, but if someone knocks his door, he looks through the peephole and quickly switches off all the lights.
Rico is scared to fight me, because after the fight his title will be worthless and the money for the Badr rematch gone. He claims to be the most respectful guy ever but on TV he calls Remy Bonjasky a money hunter while Remy never challenged him or what so ever. Rico shows a different face every time you see him.
After the press conference in Amsterdam ahead of GLORY Collision, The papers and people on Social Media all wrote Rico lost the mental war that particular evening. The day after he told everyone, not to blink, he would knock out Badr in the first round etc. That’s just a mask… be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
In Oberhausen the stadium was packed because of Badr Hari. I know it, you know it, Glory knows it and his own management knows it too.
KP: Badr Hari made a target list a while ago, should we try to make one as well? Against which fighters would you still love to fight in the near future?
1. Remy Bonjasky
Saki: During my first K-1 World Grand Prix I fought against Remy. I lost that one unfortunately. At that time he had a weight advantage over me of 15 kg, that’s a lot. But the guy has 3 K-1 titles, fought and won from the best fighters on the planet with a nearly perfect guard. He always stayed in shape and he’s still a dangerous fighter.
2. Rico Verhoeven
Saki: I just want to fight him because he’s the current Glory champion of the Heavyweight division. If someone beats him in the upcoming months I want the other guy. I just want the belt, Rico isn’t an interesting fighter to me at all.