Daniel Gita: "This is the most important tournament of my career"
A war of words has broken out between Gokhan Saki (79-16, 56 KO’s) and Daniel Ghita (48-9, 37 KO’s) ahead of this coming weekend’s Heavyweight Championship Tournament CHICAGO.
The four-man tournament also features Rico Verhoeven (40-9, 10 KO’s) and Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva (36-9-1, 24 KO’s). If Saki and Ghita get past their semi-final opponents they will meet in the tournament final for what will be the third fight in an increasingly bitter rivalry.
In 2010 they met for the first time and Saki came from behind to steal a fight Ghita was winning, though it was a razor-close decision. They finally rematched this year, at GP ISTANBUL in Saki’s spiritual homeland of Turkey.
This time the fight ended definitively as Saki overwhelmed Ghita in the second round. He knocked him down twice, one of the knockdowns being the result of a twelve-hit combination which instantly became the talk of the online fighting forums.
“It was good to fight Ghita in Turkey,” says Saki. “Either you’re a fighter or you’re not a fighter, and he’s not a good fighter. When you lose, you lose. You say “I’ll do better next time’. But he is [unable to] say that.”
Saki is referring to complaints made by Ghita’s team about an illegal leg-sweep which sent Ghita crashing to the canvas in round one of the Istanbul fight. Going into that one, Saki was already riled about Ghita blaming injuries for the 2010 loss.
“He still talks bulls–t but he will never forget those punches from Turkey,” Saki laughs. “It’s [mentally] too soon for him to fight against Saki again, you know?”
If Ghita is intimidated by Saki in any way, he certainly isn’t showing it.
Hearing Saki’s comments only makes him raise is eyebrows in his usual deadpan fashion, though he does have some thoughts on the potential rematch taking place in America rather than Turkey.
“In America it’s going to be different. I want to prove myself,” he says. “Saki is the underdog. He won the battle but I will win the war.”
Addressing his rival directly he adds, “Saki, after this gala in Chicago you’re going to be depressed.”
Of course, there is no guarantee that the final will be a Saki vs. Ghita showdown. That is only one option. In the semi-final stages they both face very tough opposition. Saki faces young prospect Rico Verhoeven and Ghita faces the durable Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva.
“Anderson Silva, I hope you have trained very well because if you haven’t then you’re going to have a lot of pain,” is Ghita’s message for his first-round opponent. “This is the most important tournament of my career.”
Saki’s assessment of Rico Verhoeven is what you might call a mixed message. Right now, Saki thinks Verhoeven has no place being in the ring with him, but he does seem to agree with people tipping the young prospect to be a dominant force in the heavyweight division over the coming years.
“Rico is not a talented fighter, you know? He\’s a hard worker, but nothing special. He\’s like 21, but I\’ve never seen him knock anybody out. I\’m better with everything, I\’m more complete, and he knows that. I\’m the most dangerous fighter [in the division],” he says.