Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer believes he will be back to his very best now that he has arrived back in the country that has hosted some of his most incredible career performances.
The Dutchman won many of the World Titles that made him a martial arts legend in Japan, and for that reason, it holds a special place in his heart.
“Japan is a really important country for me because the best moments of my fighting career were in Tokyo,” he reveals.
“I’m always really happy when I’m there. It feels like coming home.”
The multiple-time kickboxing and Shootboxing World Champion first competed in The Land Of The Rising Sun when he was just 18 years old.
His career was still in its infancy, but competing in one of the meccas of martial arts helped to raise his profile. However, that would not have mattered if he had not achieved such extraordinary success.
In 2002, aged 19, he defeated three opponents in one night to claim his first S-Cup World Title. He repeated the feat in 2004 after he won the Shootboxing Super Welterweight World Title earlier that year.
His legend grew in 2005 when he took out a series of the best stand-up martial artists in the world to claim the K-1 World Max Championship for the first time. He repeated the feat two years later, which confirmed his status as an all-time great.
His achievements made him a superstar in Japan, and the love he felt from the fans spurred him on to even more honors. It also left a lasting impression on him.
“I achieved a lot in Japan, and I always got a lot of respect back from the Japanese fans. The way they treated us as fighters was phenomenal,” he states.
“The difference between Japan and other countries in the world is difficult to explain, but in other countries a lot of people like football players. In Japan, it is the same for fighters.
“We get a lot of attention, and they always treat us with respect. The most special thing is that I always feel that I can be relaxed over there without any problems or any pressure.”
The 36-year-old has not competed in The Land Of The Rising Sun for more than two years, but thanks to his starring role in The Home Of Martial Arts, he is back.
That gives him the chance to immerse himself in an atmosphere he thinks will inspire him to fire on all cylinders.
“I have a lot of friends over there so coming back is giving me an exciting feeling,” Souwer reveals.
“It gives me some pressure, but I know that the pressure will bring me to an extra level.”
The man from the Netherlands already revealed how ONE Championship’s ethos and martial arts spirit convinced him to abandon his retirement plans, but the chance to go back to his second home is an extra bonus, and he is eager to make the most of it.
“The fact that ONE is going to Tokyo feels like a chance for me to achieve a victory again, and it gives me a lot of power and excitement to perform in Japan,” he offers.
“Coming back is like going to the Valhalla of martial arts!”
Tokyo | 31 March | 3:30PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneera19