Daniel Ghita usually doesn’t speak to the media much, being a fighter who prefers to do his talking in the ring.
However, Ghita (50-10-0, 39 KOs) feels very strongly about his rematch with Rico “The Prince” Verhoeven (43-9-0, 10 KOs) at Glory “Last Man Standing” on June 21. The winner will emerge with the Glory world heavyweight championship belt.
Their first fight formed the final of the Glory 11 heavyweight championship tournament. Verhoeven got the nod from the judges after three rounds of fighting; Ghita was furious. He says that this time, there will be no judges and no room for doubt.
“Rico was not the real winner of the tournament. The first two rounds were mine. After the fight, a lot of people, fighters, trainers contacted me and had the same opinion,” Ghita tells Sherdog.com.
“I was very upset about this decision. But the past is in the past and in the near future we will see who is the real champion.”
Trash talk is common in the worlds of MMA and boxing but is much less common in kickboxing. And so, when a top kickboxer says something about an opponent, he generally means it.
Ghita has a lot to say about Verhoeven and none of it is complimentary. He says the young Dutchman is “boring” and “a jet-set diva taking limousines to nightclubs.”
He also takes issue with the official CompuStrike numbers for their Glory 11 fight, which have a section labeled “Power Strikes.”
“Power punches -- are you joking? Ha, don’t make me laugh. Did you ever see an explosive match with Rico? A spectacular KO? I didn’t see that yet,” he snorts.
“My mistake [in the Glory 11 tournament] was that I concentrated too much on [a potential rematch with Gokhan] Saki [in the final]. I did not train one day for Rico, because in sparring I used to knock him down easy and he had nothing to show me.
“I sparred with him and brought his level up, but still he is a boring fighter. Rico has nothing spectacular to show. Watch when [Errol] Zimmermann fights -- you see he is a great, explosive fighter. He can be very dangerous. This is real kickboxing.
“Rico had a lucky day against me, that’s all. He showed [at Glory 13] in the match with Peter Aerts what his level is. Peter Aerts was much better.
“Peter is a very good friend of mine. I respect him for all that he did in his career, a real fighter. No jet-set, no diva. He will be in my corner on June 21 in Los Angeles. People like him are real champions.”
Zimmerman (103-11-1, 44 KO’s) may be a fighter Ghita admires, but that didn’t have any bearing when they fought in December. It took place at Glory 13 in Tokyo, the same card on which Verhoeven faced Aerts.
In one of the most destructive performances the Glory ring has witnessed, Ghita, usually a power-hitting counter-fighter, went on the attack as soon as the opening bell sounded and took Zimmerman out in just one minute.
“I changed my style of fighting. I’m more aggressive and wanted to make a statement to the whole world,” he says. “The anger from Glory 11 was not forgotten. I don’t want judges to decide any more of my fights for me.
“People always asked me to go for knockouts, but after the Tokyo fight, they complained it was too short.”
Ghita says that a clue to his new mindset and approach can be found in how he started down with Zimmerman after the official weigh-ins. When Zimmerman came up close, he was shoved away.
“Errol came too close to me. I pushed him to send the message, ‘Keep your distance.’ I’m Daniel Ghita! I’m not here to show off [by going nose-to-nose]. I like to prove myself in the ring.
“Nobody expected me aggressive. But I think an opponent can only show me something if I give them the chance so I changed my style. I’m more powerful, more aggressive, and if you made one small mistake, I will put you down.”