Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer believes he has one final chance to put a stamp on his remarkable kickboxing career.
The Dutch striking legend wants to remind the world why he is a combat sports icon by bringing his trademark aggression to the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix.
He will face “Smokin” Jo Nattawut in the quarter-final round of the historic tournament at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON on Friday, 17 May, and he wants to leave everything in the ring at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“I want to end my career as well as I can,” he explains.
“This is the last and only opportunity that I have, so I want to be as good as I can and put on a show.”
Souwer admits he has not been at his best so far in the world’s largest martial arts organization. Though he says he has entered the ring in peak physical condition, his mind was not completely focused on competing at his maximum intensity.
However, he found the inspiration to rediscover the mindset that made him one of his sport’s all-time greats at the ONE Elite Retreat in Phuket among his fellow athletes and ONE’s executive leadership, who expressed their faith in him.
“I spoke to a few of the elite fighters, and I came to realize they had a different state of mind,” he offers.
“I also spoke with Chatri [Sityodtong, ONE Chairman and CEO] and the important people at ONE, and they gave me a feeling of confidence – they said that they supported me.
“Chatri also said, ‘Don’t forget where you came from, and what the values were that brought you success.’”
Back in the Netherlands, Souwer made physical and psychological changes to prepare for a tough match in Singapore.
He headed back to his old boxing gym to try to bring back some of the spark and intensity into his training, and he also flipped a switch in his mind that he hopes will help to bring home a win against “Smokin” Jo.
“I went back to my former boxing club, and that changed a lot too, especially in my confidence,” says Souwer.
“I started training hard again – not training to survive like I was doing before, but training to win. Every session brings extra confidence, power, and focus.
“Nobody needs to teach me how to fight, I’ve been doing it my whole life, but sharpening the details, and especially the mind game. In the short time I’ve had to prepare, I’ve been trying to get the right vibe back again.”
In Nattawut, he will meet an extremely dangerous adversary, but that will not faze “Souwer Power,” who made his name competing against the striking world’s biggest names. Now, his biggest battle is against himself.
He is still aware of the Thai star’s dangerous offense, it is just not his main focus when they square off inside the ring.
The 36-year-old is determined to unleash his own output and bring back the aggression that took him to World Championship gold in Japan.
“He’s a Thai guy with a typically Thai rhythm. His right kick is strong, his punches are strong, so let’s see what it brings for me,” says Souwer.
“Stylistically, I think my sparring is going well, so it will be the old Andy Souwer, not holding back, just trying to overwhelm my opponent. I am trying to get back to that again.”
If Souwer can harness the experience he gained from decades of combat with the raw desire he had when he first started out, he has every chance of progressing deep into the tournament.
The ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix means too much to him to not give it every ounce of his energy and passion, and he will be prepared to go to war on 17 May.
He has identified a path to victory, and he will have no hesitation about pulling the trigger when his target is in his sights.
“100 percent, I see weaknesses [in Nattawut] that I can exploit,” he concludes.
“I will go out and take a chance. I don’t want to end my career as the guy who fought just for money. I need to be aggressive again.”