Last year, kickboxing legend Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer had a serious decision to make.
He could retire from the sport, buy a house in Spain, and enjoy daily afternoon siestas knowing he’d accomplished almost everything possible in kickboxing. Or, he could return to the sport he once dominated and make a run at the ONE World Title.
Fortunately for striking fans around the globe, he chose the latter.
“I see him as a good step up to start. He faced a lot of good fighters, top-level fighters. So, he has some experience,” Souwer says of his Chinese foe.
“He is a good first match to start again and show the comeback that I want to show to the people – and to myself.”
Souwer’s last ONE appearance came in March 2019 when he succumbed to “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, a decorated opponent who he’d beaten 11 years prior.
That loss came five months after the Dutchman’s promotional debut, where he dropped a razor-thin split decision to Anthony “The Assassin” Njokuani.
“Over the last six years, I’ve lost the most fights [in one stretch]. That’s a pity. That’s a shame in my opinion,” the 37-year-old kickboxing great says.
“So, I said to myself, to my family, that I wanted to achieve one more goal, and that’s to win a ONE Championship belt.”
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While the Thai legend ultimately secured the unanimous decision win, “Bamboo Sword” put up a strong showing and his kicks looked especially dangerous.
Zhang will undoubtedly look to offload those kicks onto Souwer, but the man from Amsterdam isn’t threatened by his Chinese opponent. In fact, although he feels that Zhang is powerful, he also thinks he’s predictable.
“I see a lot of good patterns that I will be able to catch,” Souwer says.
“His patterns, to be honest, are pretty easy [to pick up on]. He’s not doing crazy things. What he does is common in kickboxing.”
What is uncommon, however, is the amount of experience Souwer will bring to the Circle against Zhang. The Dutchman has a 179-20-1 professional record.
He also holds World Championships in the WPKA, WKA, ISKA, and K-1 organizations, among others. But even after all that success, there’s a reason that “Souwer Power” has never lost the motivation to compete.
“The will to win again,” he says. “The will to perform again. The will to end my career as good as I can – I’m breathing, thinking, doing everything for this win.
“It sounds pretty simple, but I never felt so strongly about these feelings that I have now, the inner feeling to show myself and my family that I’m still strong enough. That’s the most important thing.”
Souwer is confident he’ll get the win tonight – so confident, in fact, that he’s going out of character to forecast exactly how the bout will end.
“It’s going to be a knockout, for sure,” he says.
“I never made predictions in the past. But I changed my life so much right now, that I can answer this question by saying that it’s going to be a knockout.”
Even if Souwer scores the knockout win – or any win, for that matter – over Zhang, don’t expect him to celebrate too much, as he knows the biggest challenges still lie ahead.
Should he overcome those challenges and win the belt, though, Souwer may finally be able to retire contently, knowing that a ONE Super Series Kickboxing World Title cements his status as an all-time great.
“It’s just the first step that I have to make, and I’m looking forward to the next step. I want to keep winning, and if there are any World Tite shots in between, I will be really happy about it,” he offers.
“But the most important thing for myself is just to end up as good as I can, with only Ws, and say goodbye as a real champ.”