Jhonata Diniz wants to emulate Wanderlei, Shogun

Jhonata Diniz wants to emulate Wanderlei, Shogun

Wednesday, Jul 12 2017

Jhonata Diniz (8-4, 5 KO’s) has had some tough fights in his young career - including a GLORY 4 TOKYO clash with Daniel Ghita - but he has possibly the hardest fight of his life ahead of him at GLORY 15 ISTANBUL.

He faces Hesdy Gerges (43-13-1, 19 KO’s), former heavyweight champion of It’s Showtime, the leading European organization which was bought out by the GLORY World Series in 2012.

Gerges is an experienced fighter and a hard-style brawler. He came up via Chakuriki, the iconic Amsterdam kickboxing gym headed by Thom Harinck, former coach to Peter Aerts. His fights are never anything less than wars.

“Hesdy is very tough, he is a difficult guy to KO so I cannot say for sure that I am going to knock him out. But I am definitely going to try. I think I can get the knockout,” says Diniz.

Born and raised in the famous Brazilian fighting city of Curitiba, home of the legendary Chute Boxe team, which dominated PRIDE FC in its heyday, Diniz is heir to a warrior tradition which embraces some of the biggest names who have ever stepped into the ring.

“I grew up watching these guys from my city - Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Mauricio ‘Shogun’, Jose ‘Pele’… I joined Thai Boxe as a teenager and then I started to see them in person,” says Diniz.

“Curitiba has a big name in fighting sports because of these guys and they are who I want to emulate.

“Boxe Thai and Chute Boxe are [affiliated], not a lot of people know this. Chute Boxe is more about MMA and Vale Tudo and Thai Boxe is a pure striking team, so the guys from Chute Boxe will often come over to Thai Boxe for stand-up sparring.”

With the Netherlands being a center of excellence when it comes to kickboxing, Diniz has for the last few years spent extended periods of time there training at Hemmers Gym in the southern city of Breda.

The gym is the former home of Alistair Overeem and Gokhan Saki among others. Currently the training room houses the likes of Errol Zimmerman, Karapet Karapetyan, Filip Verlinden and other top fighters from the GLORY roster.

“I am a young guy and I am still learning so much. I live in Brazil but I come to the Netherlands as much as possible so that I can train with the guys at Hemmers Gym. It is expensive for me to do this - really expensive, especially compared to Brazil - but I think it is necessary,” says Diniz.

What drives Diniz to travel across the world, living as frugally as he can, away from his friends and family for months at a time?

“People in Brazil have hard lives. They don’t have much money. So if you give them a chance to do to something and make success, they will give it 100 per cent. I think this is why Brazil has so much success in sports and in fighting, they work very hard,” he says.

“I want to be successful so that I can give my family a better life. I want to buy a house for my mother, maker life easier, and take care of my relatives. This is one of the things which motivates me when I am training and fighting.”

Diniz isn’t the only talent coming out of Brazil and making a mark on the GLORY ranks. In his last fight - GLORY 12 NEW YORK - Diniz knocked out Igor Jurkovic, former training partner of Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic.

On the same show, the light-heavyweight Saulo Cavalari fought Mourad Bouzidi and scored a ‘Knockout of the Year’ contender when he starched the veteran fighter in the first round, leaving him unconscious on the canvas for several minutes.

“We have some very good strikers in Brazil and I think this year and next year you will see Brazil become a big power in kickboxing, the same as it is in MMA and Jiu Jitsu,” says Diniz.

“There are many good Brazilian guys in GLORY now - we have Saulo Cavalari, also from Curitiba, and Alex Pereira who just won the Middleweight tournament in Zagreb. There is Anderson ’Braddock’ Silva at heavyweight and Jhonata Oliveira at welterweight.

“He is really good. There is a strong Brazilian team in GLORY right now.”

GLORY 15 ISTANBUL takes place Saturday April 12 at the Ulker Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.

It features a four-man World Championship Tournament between Tyrone Spong (90-5, 60 KO’s), Gokhan Saki (79-16, 56 KO’s), Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett (57-4, 45 KO’s) and Saulo Cavalari (28-2, 18 KO’s).

The event airs across theUSA on SPIKE TV from 9pm ET/8pm CT and in over 150 territories worldwide.