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JLB & Gokhan Saki Interviews

Jerome Le Banner

source: http://www.punchdrunkgamer.com/index.php?view=article&catid=30%3Ainterviews&id=251%3Ajlb-aug08&option=com_content&Itemid=72


K-1 Superstar Jerome LeBanner recently took some time to talk with PDG about his career, Cro-Cop, his future and who is the greatest fighter on the planet now.

PDG: Since your fight against Semmy Schilt in June; what have you been doing?

JLB: Vacations! We were also doing some business negotiations for my 2 next movies in 2009. But today, I’m going biking in the French mountains and that’s going to be great!

PDG: What is your current training schedule?
JLB: I usually train twice a day. Cardio and weight – strength training and in the morning and kickboxing, sparring, lesson in the evening.

PDG: Do you know who your opponent is going to be for the WORLD GP 2008 in Seoul?
JLB: Not yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I have a name. By the way, I’m ready to take on anybody. It doesn’t matter.

PDG: Mirko 'Cro-Cop' recently stated that you chose not to face him in DREAM; what are your thoughts on that potential match-up?
JLB: That statement is wrong! I agreed on that match up but apparently Mirko was out because of some injury! Then later, DREAM came back with Mark Hunt but my management didn’t accept. They said that 2 fights and 2 jet-lag in less than 3 weeks was crazy....So for once I decided to listen to my guys and to not take the fight on short notice. I also had a little injury, so I wasn’t at 100%. I’m becoming a wise guy!

PDG: In your opinion, who are the 5 best fighters overall right now in the world?
JLB: I don’t like to rank myself, so I will not include my name in any list.

K-1 Heavyweights: Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Badi Hari and....I don’t know who would be fifth!

MMA Pound for Pound: Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, GSP, BJ Penn and Randy Couture.

PDG: Outside of K-1, what other organization would you like to fight for?
JLB: It was always my dream to fight at least once in the UFC’s octagon. But it seems it’s impossible. They said they will be interested in signing me but not for just 1 single fight. I would have to do an exclusive contract without any K1 fights....

Since Affliction is doing some great shows, I would love to fight Tim Sylvia there. Affliction is one of my sponsors, I love their clothes and we have a great relation with Tom Atencio.

In the past, you and Tim Sylvia exchanged some words; what did you think of his recent fight with Fedor?
JLB: Fedor just showed why so many people say he’s number 1. It was an impressive demonstration of his skills and his rank. I met Fedor and I trained with his guys at the Red Devil gym. Fedor is incredibly strong and explosive.

Now I have nothing but respect for Tim Sylvia, challenges, words are a part of the game! I would love to fight him at Affliction now that it is possible! Tom (Atencio), make this fight happen my friend! I know the fans will love this fight! It would be a slugfest.

PDG: You have fought some of the biggest names in K-1 and MMA (Hunt, Schilt, Hoost, Aerts, etc.); who was your toughest opponent and which fight did you enjoy the most?
JLB: I don’t know. Those 4 guys probably gave me the biggest opposition! I had my toughest fights versus Aerts and Hoost. The 4 fights against Hunt were great too. Schilt is just too damn tall and he knows perfectly how to use his reach. He’s not my toughest opponent but he is so difficult to fight. I really enjoyed my victory against Hunt in our last confrontation.

PDG: When you are not training or fighting; what do you enjoy outside of the ring?
JLB: Being with my family and friends, biking, acting in movies and taking care of my dogs.

PDG: Thanks for your time; is there any thing else you would like to add?
JLB: I would like to thank my fans for their continued support, especially my Japanese fans who always are behind me! Most of the fighters don’t even realize that without fans there is no sports!


Gokhan "The Rebel" Saki

source: http://clinchordie.blogspot.com/2008/08/gokhan-rebel-saki-interview.html


K1 recently held their United States portion of their World Grand Prix in the state of Hawaii and the surprise victor was none other than Gokhan "The Rebel" Saki. The 24 year old Golden Glory fighter only got the slot, as fellow Golden Glory fighter Chalid Arrab could not obtain a visa to participate in the event. A disappointment for Arrab, but a great oppurtunity for Gokhan Saki. The winner of the Hawaii Grand Prix would be awarded automatic entry into the K1 Grand Prix finals, which will be held in Seoul, Korea. Gokhan Saki took advantage of this opportunity and did so in impressive fashion. He defeated all three of his opponents via KO (one in the 2nd and twice in the 1st round). He's currently riding a 14 fight win streak and hasn't been defeated in the past two years. He'll take this momentum with him into the finals, where he will be taking on the best kickboxers in the world.

A little more about this young up and coming fighter, he is of Turkish origin, fighting out of the Netherlands. He trains with Golden Glory Breda, under Cor Hemmers. He's amassed a record of 63 wins (47 via KO), 9 losses and 1 no contest. He is a two time Dutch and European Muay Thai champion and was a finalist at the K1 World GP 2006 in Amsterdam. Tournament champion at the K1 World GP 2008 in Hawaii. Nicknamed "The Rebel," Gokhan has shown to be quite the force to be reckoned with. He will be one of the fighters to look out for during the finals, not only competitively, but also by fans to see how he performs at the grandest of stages. It will be the toughest challenge in this fighter's young career, also one of the biggest opportunities in his career to solidy his name as one of the best in the sport. He has the confidence, skill and determination to be successful. Clinch or Die recently had the benefit to chat with Gokhan and we are honored to present our first interview to our readers...

Clinch or Die: Who are some fighters that you look up to within the sport? Who are some fighters you simply enjoy watching?

Gokhan Saki: I like explosive fighters, who try to make the fight. Fighters like LeBanner, Karaev, Zimmerman and Chalid. I also have great respect for Semmy, he is a training beast.

Clinch or Die: Having spent some time in Hawaii, your thoughts on the state and the overall atmosphere/feedback from the Hawaiin fans? Did you have any time for leisure activies while there?

Gokhan Saki: I loved Hawaii, the atmosphere was great. My last entrance had the audience dancing and go wild, as we expected that to happen. For leisure, I went surfing and had muscle pain, hahaha.

Clinch or Die: Your entrance music during the Grand Prix has been popular amongst your fans, could you credit the artist and name for the fans?

Gokhan Saki:
It is a creation by a DJ friend of mine, who made it specially for me. You will hear more of this guy in the future, as we are planning to release this mix with a video clip with, of course, my fights.

Clinch or Die: The field of fighters at the Grand Prix Finals will be the best of the best, do you feel you match up well with any particular fighter(s)? If you could pick an opponent you want to match up with in the first round, who would it be? Any fighter you would want to avoid in the first bout?

Gokhan Saki: LeBanner, Feitosa, Teixera, but really, I don't care either way. If in the next round, I have to fight fellow Golden Glory fighters, so be it. In the gym, we fight everyday and believe me, if you do not have your hands up, you will go down.

Clinch or Die: If you can credit one thing for all the success so far in your career, what would it be?

Gokhan Saki: Trainer Cor Hemmers and Golden Glory. They made my career go off like a rocket. They also made my have my own team (Team Rebel) within Golden Glory. This is mainly for potential future clashes with teammates, we know it is going to happen and we are all fine with it. It's just business and believe me, for us, a lot of honor in determining who will be the best from Golden Glory and for Glory fighters, hahaha.

Clinch or Die: Other than winning the K1 Grand Prix Finals, what are some other goals you hope to achieve in your fight career?

Gokhan Saki: I have a contract with K1 and I am happy about it. I want to enjoy life, which I am doing.

Clinch or Die: If you weren't fighting professionally, what would you be most likely doing instead as a professional?

Gokhan Saki: I was a good soccer player, so it would be soccer.

Clinch or Die: Who did you root for during EURO 2008?

Gokhan Saki: Holland of course, but as I am Turkish, I had two favorites.

Clinch or Die: Anything else you would like to add for your fans?

Gokhan Saki: Saki time has now started. I may be one of the smallest fighters, but my kicks are already compared to Mirko CroCop's, which I think isn't correct. I am very well rounded, always learning and my boxing skills have improved a lot. I am always learning every day. I am not only a good dancer, but I can fight as well. I fight everybody and proved this already. I like to give the fans a spectacular fight and I always go for the Knock Out!

Clinch or Die: Gokhan, thank you for the time. Best of luck with your training and fights.

Gokhan Saki: Peace!


Post new comment
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-08-30 at: 10:36
Nice interview. I think he's right when he says his boxing's improving. As for his kicks, what can we say? especially after learning he's a gifted soccer player also.
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-08-30 at: 12:20
He surely made an impression on me in Hawaii and I think Saki could surprise at the final 16. So he´s a dangerous outsider.
ricardo (126 posts)
Posted: 2008-08-30 at: 02:14
a really great fighter and still very young. if he don`t fight guys like le banner, badr hari, bonjansky i think he could be in the final 8
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-08-31 at: 01:11
Suddenly Chrzan_ko, in addition, put an interview with Jerome in this article .... Interesting interview!

@ Chrzan-ko, Have you seen JLB´s movie already? And how was it?
Chrzan_ko, Video editor (749 posts)
Posted: 2008-08-31 at: 02:24
Nope D-rop. Unforunately Polish release is three weeks after the American. So I'm still waiting. BTW I've heard that the movie is total crap but I think I'm gonna see it anyway:)
Sidekick (492 posts)
Posted: 2008-09-01 at: 07:52
Nice! An interview with JLB is always cool! And it is nice to see another side of Gokan too!
Thanks! OSU!
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2008-09-03 at: 08:10
great stuff, thanx for sharing
Kim, Editor (1548 posts)
Posted: 2008-09-05 at: 09:59
Thanks for the update and it sure will be interesting to see how far Saki´s motivation, skills and 183 cm is bringing him in the K-1 WGP finals.
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