Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer may be entering the final phase of his illustrious kickboxing career, but his monumental rematch with Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex at ONE: A NEW ERA has rekindled the fire inside of him.
When they square off at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 31 March, the Dutch kickboxer will be eager to put in another career-defining performance against the Thai superstar.
“He is still strong, and this gives me motivation in the last period of my career,” the 36-year-old Amsterdam native says.
“It brings me a lot of excitement and motivation into my body, so I expect a strong clash.”
Souwer was victorious in their first encounter back in March 2008, taking the nod after an extension round in a closely-contested battle in his native Holland.
The legendary kickboxer could have easily passed on Yodsanklai’s chance for redemption, but he has never been the kind of martial artist to shy away from the biggest challenges. That is why fans around the world have embraced him.
After dedicating nearly three decades to the sport, the competitive embers were slowly dying and he was looking towards retirement. However, the call from ONE Championship reignited the flames and now, the two-time K-1 World Max Champion is deep in preparation for his upcoming match-up.
“I’m training twice a day — one tough session and one recovery session,” he reveals.
“I don’t go hard anymore. I just want to be smart, I want to be fast, and I want to be athletic, so that’s the goal for this camp.”
The Dutchman has almost 30 years of martial arts training in his locker, and he has operated at the international level since the early 2000s.
Souwer has learned many valuable lessons during this time, and he believes his IQ in the cage will lead him to victory.
“He has power in his kicks and his hands, and physically, he is really strong,” the veteran offers.
“But you know what? I am a fast guy and I love to box, [which is] the opposite of his game. That’s going to be the biggest clash.
“I cannot tell you that much, but Muay Thai fighters are not willing to put extra body movements or footwork into their game, and I am going to do that.”
Souwer’s volume and movement were the keys to victory in their first bout 11 years ago, and with even more knowledge now, he hopes to get a more decisive result this time around.
However, he is not the only cerebral athlete in this upcoming battle.
The man they call “The Boxing Computer” is renowned for outfoxing his rivals, so he will do his best to shut “Souwer Power” down and create openings for his heavy strikes. That is something the Dutchman is already anticipating, but he feels he can remain one step ahead.
“He puts the pressure on you. We are going to show that there are some weaknesses, too,” he explains.
“With my game plan, I think I can give a great performance and I’m going to show the world the best in me.”
Souwer has not been this motivated in years, and he has his opponent to thank for bringing his focus back.
He is also enthused by a return to Japan, the country where he made his name and solidified his status as an elite striker.
The world’s largest martial arts organization has provided both of the key elements that are driving him to succeed, and on 31 March, he believes it will show in the cage.
“It feels like I’m coming home,” the Dutchman states.
“I’m going to win the fight, and overwhelm him with my speed and with my combinations.”