Switching over to a different sport will make this matchup trickier, but “The Natural” very much wanted the bout to happen after respectful callouts went back and forth.
Plus, he believes his power will be the great equalizer – especially because the athletes will do battle in 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves.
“John Wayne Parr is a legend. I like his style very much and I always wanted to fight with him. I feel excited that it’s actually going to happen,” Holzken says.
“[Competing in] full Muay Thai rules has been a long time for me, like 10 years. Normally, I never do it, especially not with small gloves, but when [Parr wanted those rules], I said, ‘Okay, you get your weapons, but then I want a weapon.’ And because I know I’m a hard hitter, small gloves are a bonus point for me.”
Holzken was also buoyed by his recent return to the win column against Elliot “The Dragon” Compton at ONE: BIG BANG II in December. An inch-perfect liver shot folded his foe on the canvas, giving the kickboxing superstar extra confidence for his next clash.
“Obviously, it feels very good to get back on track with a big KO in the first round. I was really sharp. There was no stress on my head and you see the result,” Holzken says.
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With all that positive momentum, the Helmond, Netherlands, native feels like his own strengths can be a match for any striker in the world.
He’s well-aware that WMC Muay Thai World Champion Parr will utilize elbows and clinch work, but a punch is a punch, and “The Natural” won’t be fazed.
“There’s nothing but respect from my side, but I know I’m very strong and I’m very good in my head right now — like 1000 percent. I have no fear of anybody. Every man is made from flesh and blood, and so am I,” Holzken says.
“I’ve always been training [Muay Thai], of course, and I like to throw some elbows, but that’s not my main goal. My main goal is winning and using my own specialties.
“I have trained in Thailand. I know their game, but I have one big surprise and that’s my knockout power. When he comes for the elbows and he comes for the clinch, he will get surprised. I promise that.”
This match is somewhat of a bucket-list achievement for “The Natural,” given his rare forway into a different striking discipline.
At the same time, a victory would give him even more momentum as he eyes a third showdown with Regian “The Immortal” Eersel for the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Championship.
The 37-year-old Holzken is not looking past Parr, but he’s not an exhibition fighter, and his main motivation is still winning the gold on the global stage.
“I constantly think about the ONE Championship belt because I like the belt and I want to be a champion in all the organizations where I fight, so I’m hunting for it,” he says.
“I have a very dangerous opponent in front of me in Regian Eersel, but I know I can beat him when I’m strong in my mind and 100 percent focused. Let me have a few more wins and get back to him.”
That starts with his matchup against “The Gunslinger” at “ONE on TNT III.”
Parr is as tough as they come and has many tools to work with, but “The Natural” is ready to make a statement with the greatest result in any striking discipline — knocking opponents out.
“John Wayne Parr is an all-around martial artist. He can box, he can do Muay Thai, and he can do K-1-style kickboxing. He is a good pressure fighter also,” Holzken says.
“But I think I hit harder. I think I have better eyes. I think I have good counters and defense, and I think I’m much, much better with my boxing.
“I want to win with a knockout in the first round.”