Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer has already achieved more than most strikers could ever dream of, but the biggest tournament in kickboxing is enough to keep him chasing gold.
That tournament is the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, and Souwer will take the first step toward the silver belt when he faces Marat Grigorian in the quarterfinal round at ONE: FIRST STRIKE on Friday, 15 October.
The 38-year-old Dutch icon still believes in himself, but he admits the Grand Prix is an all-or-nothing moment at this stage of his professional journey.
“[The feeling of winning major titles] is so emotional. It’s so powerful. Of course, it’s addictive. The only way to reach out for this feeling is just to do it, to give it a chance,” Souwer says.
“If I don’t win this belt, then I will retire, 100 percent. [If I do win it,] then I’m on top of the world again.”
Though he’s the oldest competitor in the field, the 201-bout veteran is also the most experienced.
“I’m 38. I’m going to be 39 this year. See where I am? I’m still at the top level with the best fighters, with the young lions,” he says.
“I’m still competing with them. I feel good. I feel strong. I’ve shown the world already that I was the best, and I’m going to do it one more time.”
The Dutchman is certainly motivated to win the prestigious Grand Prix, but he won’t be crushed if he falls short. Above all, he wants his actions and many accomplishments to leave a lasting impression on the next generation of strikers.
“I’m giving it one more shot in my fight career. Then, hopefully, I will be a legend for the rest of my life, and it will be an example for the kids under us,” Souwer says.
“People are really in a fast life right now. They want to be a champion next week or next month, but they forget that you need to work hard. Real achievements cannot be done without real work, so go for it. That’s all I want to show off.
“Even if I lose, I don’t care. I’m happy with myself and I’m happy that I can be an example for a lot of the youth, and especially for my family.”
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The eight-man tournament is packed with the best kickboxers in the world, and the Amsterdam resident knows it will be tough to progress.
At the same time, he built his reputation as a tournament fighter – winning two K-1 World MAX Championships – and it would be fitting if he could go out in the same way.
“It’s the best featherweight division in the world,” Souwer says.
“It’s not a new thing, to be honest, but it was such a long time ago that this kind of Grand Prix was in our lives, especially for the new kids on the block as fans, but also for the fighters.
“I think a lot of people will be happy and are excited for it. We are all entertainers and athletes and I think we can make it a big show – and that’s the most important part of it.”
The Dutchman’s Grand Prix journey will start against pound-for-pound great Grigorian in a matchup that’s captured the imagination of fans.
It won’t be easy to beat the Armenian slugger – a 30-year-old superstar at the peak of his powers – but Souwer believes he has the assets needed to get the job done.
“Marat is really strong. He kills people by going through them. He’s like a machine. I think going through his opponents powers him up. His body, his pressure is the bullet,” the veteran says.
“You cannot say a lot about him in the technical or the tactical part. I can adapt better than Marat, so I think that would be my advantage.”
It’s clear that “Souwer Power” is ready to leave everything in the Circle as he aims to finish off a legendary career in style.
And as event night approaches, he hopes Grigorian is ready to engage in a spectacular battle that won’t be forgotten.
“Marat, I wish you all the best,” Souwer adds.
“It’s going to be one of my last fights, so make sure you’re ready. I will be looking forward to it. Let’s bring some fireworks.”