There comes a time in every veteran fighter’s career when their days start to become numbered. The body slows. The motivation wanes. Injuries take longer to heal. And the opponents, who are trying to build their own legacies, become faster and tougher.
However, this is not yet the case for 38-year-old Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer – a kickboxing icon who’s spent the last two-plus decades winning prestigious tournaments and beating World Champions.
Ahead of his ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinal clash with #3-ranked Marat Grigorian at ONE: FIRST STRIKE on Friday, 15 October, Souwer is feeling in the best shape of his life, both mentally and physically. And he’s ready to parlay this opportunity into another World Title run.
“I’m still at the top level with the best fighters, with the young lions,” he said.
“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.”
To the layman, proving in your late-30s that you’re still one of the best kickboxers in the world may seem like Souwer’s motivating factor in this Grand Prix. However, to the Dutchman, it’s the cathartic release of winning a strap that he’s after.
“[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 said.
“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.
“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.”
And so goes the mindset of every athlete who’s spent any time at the pinnacle of their sport. Because truth be told, Souwer is and always has been a kickboxing legend. That status hasn’t escaped him since the early 2000s, long before instant gratification took a stronghold on modern martial arts.
“People are really in a fast life right now,” Souwer said. “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.”
Catch all the action at ONE: FIRST STRIKE on the ONE Super App or on meWATCH at 8:30 p.m. SGT on Friday, 15 October.