‘I Come For My Legacy’ – Nieky Holzken Vows To Kick-Start World Title Run At ONE Fight Night 11

Nieky Holzken walks up towards the Circle at ONE X: Part I

Nieky “The Natural” Holzken is eager to prove that he’s still one of the top dogs in the world of kickboxing at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video.

Following a brief foray into ONE’s Muay Thai ranks, the Dutch legend will return to his primary sport and face Arian Sadikovic in a pivotal lightweight battle at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, June 9.

Holzken was riding high with back-to-back stoppage wins in 2020 and 2021, but he came unstuck against future ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Sinsamut Klinmee at ONE X last March. 

“The Natural” had to deal with some late changes in opponents and rules – including a downsize to 4-ounce gloves – but he ultimately accepted the risk in order to compete at that historic event in Singapore.

He recalled:

“I was supposed to fight Islam Murtazaev and trained for 10 weeks with big [kickbocking] gloves for that fight. Four days before I was due to go to Singapore, I got a call that he could not fight. 

“On that day, Liam Nolan fought and won by KO. They offered him to fight me one week later. I signed the contract, but it was not kickboxing rules. It was Muay Thai rules. I didn’t train in small gloves, but that’s my fault. You don’t want to waste those 10 weeks. You sacrifice everything, and you want to fight. 

“One day later, I got a call to say that the opponent has changed again, and it’s Sinsamut. I said I wanted to fight kickboxing rules, but Sinsamut only wanted to fight Muay Thai. So I decided with my family and my team that I was going to fight.”

The 39-year-old striker felt good going into the contest, especially after a solid first round where he looked to have the edge over Sinsamut. However, he would eat a crunching right hand that ended the fight in round two. 

Despite coming up short in a game of inches, Holzken has come to terms with the result and promises to learn from his experience as he moves forward.

He said:

“I was in very good shape. Everything was working out very well. The low kicks were on point. My conditioning was on point after the first round. I wasn’t tired. The only thing was that I had a game plan for Islam with 10-ounce gloves. And that fight was with 4-ounce gloves, which changes everything. Your defense is very different than with 10-ounce gloves. 

“It was my fault for accepting it, but I accept that I lost by one punch. It was a good punch. He caught me, and I went down. I got over it very fast.”

Nieky Holzken: ‘Age Is Just A Number’

Nieky Holzken is determined to rebound from his defeat to Sinsamut Klinmee, but he’s not taking an easy road back to the winner’s column against Arian Sadikovic.

Sadikovic has looked strong in his two ONE bouts to date, defeating former World Title challenger Mustapha Haida and then becoming the first athlete in the organization to knock down Regian Eersel when he challenged for the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title. 

The man known as “Game Over” is also 11 years younger than Holzken, but that doesn’t faze the older competitor. Instead, “The Natural” plans to show that he’s still very much in his prime.

He said:

“For me, age is just a number. I don’t feel 39. I don’t train like I’m 39. I train like I did when I was 25. I only have to keep in mind that I have to recover more, eat more, and rest.

“I’m going to win, and people are going to see that I don’t fight like somebody who’s 39.”

It’s clear that Holzken is not looking toward retirement. He still has big goals in kickboxing, and he knows a solid outing against Sadikovic would show he can make another run at the top. 

Moreover, the former four-time Glory Kickboxing World Champion has already worked hard for many years to make himself financially stable.

These days, he’s only motivated by the chance to cap off his storied career with World Title gold in ONE Championship – further cementing himself as an icon of the sport.

He added:

“I don’t come for money fights. I come for my legacy and to win. I know I have a good name in the kickboxing world, but I want to be champion again. I want to stop when I’m champion. That’s my goal. And I’ll do everything to get there.”

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