It has taken 11 years, but two of the striking world’s most revered competitors will finally renew their rivalry in a ONE Super Series kickboxing battle at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan.
The multiple-time World Champion veterans bring a combined 280 professional victories with them into their 72-kilogram catch weight tilt on Sunday, 31 March.
After competing at the highest level so often, and for so long, “The Hero” and “Souwer Power” have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, which they can unleash to win contests against the toughest of opponents.
Here are four of their most effective tools fans must watch out for when they square off inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Yodsanklai’s Signature Left Roundhouse Kick
Yodsanklai’s left roundhouse kick is arguably the most feared weapon in martial arts.
“The Hero” is ruthlessly efficient with it and administers it with perfect technique. He commits his hips to every shot to generate maximum power, which means opponents can rarely escape its impact, even if they see it coming.
If it lands flush, his rivals will end up in a world of trouble, but he will also happily kick straight through their guard to cause damage to their arms and slow their subsequent punches.
He had it in his arsenal when he first met Souwer in 2008, but the rest of his kickboxing game was not as refined, meaning that Souwer could anticipate when he needed to take evasive action.
The most dangerous thing about “The Boxing Computer’s” famous power shot in 2019 is that he can combine it with the firepower from his hands. Boxing combinations can force his opposite numbers to maintain a high guard, which gives him the opening to whip his left shin into their unprotected body.
Souwer’s Superior Footwork
Few kickboxers in history are better at mixing their strikes and moving in and out of range – just as he did to great success in his first encounter with the Thai superstar.
Hitting without being hit is a combat sports cliché, but it has been crucial to the 36-year-old’s success throughout his career – whether he has faced the judges’ scorecards or earned a stoppage.
Yodsanklai’s Levelled-Up Boxing
In 2008, Souwer was able to get out of most of the punching exchanges unscathed as “The Hero” had spent less time focusing on that area of his game.
However, he has worked hard on those skills every day since then, and now they are some of his biggest assets. The Fairtex Gym representative’s eye for finding an adversary’s chin is impeccable.
He has a stiff jab that that opens the way for power strikes, and by watching his opponent’s cues, he usually picks the perfect way to follow up in a split second.
That could be with a straight left hand down the middle, or if his target shells up to block that straight shot, he could unleash something more unexpected like the rapid-fire lead uppercuts that caused the downfall of Luis Regis in December.
Souwer’s Combos At Close-Quarters
This bout could become a battle of range-finding, as Souwer’s footwork can control the engagements, but “The Hero’s” powerful kicks and punches are the major threat in the mid-range.
Here is where the kickboxing specialist from the Netherlands can capitalize on the kickboxing ruleset. Under Muay Thai rules, the Pattaya native would be delighted to make things get up-close and personal.
However, at ONE: A NEW ERA, Souwer will not have to worry about Yodsanklai’s clinch when steps inside. That means he can move in to take his rival’s left kick out of the equation, and let rip.
“Souwer Power” fires hard, tight shots in combination, and mixes his punches up to work the body – particularly with his left hook – to compliment his attacks to the head. In true Dutch fashion, he usually punctuates his exit with a right low kick to score and add even more damage.