There aren't many kickboxers in the world that are as decorated as Andy Souwer is. Andy Souwer is a three time Shootboxing champion and a two time K-1 World MAX Champion, which in the world of Middleweight kickboxing is tremendous. Souwer is one of the few dominant fighters of the division, with his name forever etched in stone alongside the likes of Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Masato and most recently Giorgio Petrosyan. LiverKick caught up with Andy Souwer to discuss his relationship with K-1, what his future plans are in kickboxing and if he has his sights set on the world of MMA at all.
A big thanks to Team Souwer's manager Eddy Coutinho for setting up the interview as well as helping with the translations.
LiverKick.com: Have you ever had issues being paid by K-1?
Andy Souwer: K1 has paid everything they owed me. There are rumours about K1 not paying me, but that is not true. There was some delay in payment, but it happened.
LK: Were you surprised not to be invited to the MAX GP this year and how do you feel about K-1's future?
AS: I was very surprised not to be invited by K1. I won it twice and fought 4 finals. Very strange.
LK: What are your thoughts on his recent Pajonsuk fight?
AS: The fight was not exciting for the spectators. I was not totally recovered from my back injury and I had the feeling Panjunsuk did not really want to fight.
LK: How do you feel about facing Aussie Ouzgni?
AS: Aussie is the darkhorse in this fight, but he is very, very dangerous. He is very tall and has good knees and kicks. Aussie is not my favourite opponent, but to be the best you have to beat every opponent.
LK: How has your putting on mass in the past 3-4 years affected the way you train and prepare for fights? In particular, is it a large weight cut?
AS: Normally I walk around at 75 kg., so I only have to drop 5 kilo's. I am used to losing weight without losing strength, so it is no problem for me. I have a good team who helps me with training and advice.
After the break Souwer discusses his roots and future...
LK: How did you get started in kickboxing?
AS: I started kickboxing when I was seven years old, at the age of 16 I fought a world title fight and I won. At the age of 19 Shootboxing searched for a good fighter who was strong, but would not win the tournament. My trainer suggested me, but that was a mistake, as they wanted me to lose. I won the tournament and after that I won it two times more, hahaha, funny how things can go.
LK: Do you have a time in mind for when you would like to retire? Do you have something you wants to do after fighting?
AS: I want to quit fighting at the age of 30 (ed note: Souwer is currently 28). I am already busy with my own gym and some other things. First I have to be the number one in the world by beating Petrosyan before I can retire.
LK: What are your thoughts on the current political situation in regards to kickboxing in Holland and your thoughts on the combat sports scene in Holland, in general?
AS: I like my sport, but I also see that a lot of people use our sport for the wrong purpose. The political climate now is against our sport, that is bad for now, but it will take the bad seeds away at the end.
LK: Have you diversified your training over the years? Holland has a number of great gyms, do you jump around? How about his strength and conditioning programs? Does you train in Thailand or Japan?
AS: I have never trained in Thailand, because it is not at all similar to the Dutch style. My kickboxing is improving; I have a boxing trainer, a kickboxing trainer, a strength trainer, a physical therapist and a pads trainer. All of these specialists are to improve my fight style.
LK: How do you like Japan and its fans? Holland and its fans?
AS: I love Japan and its fans, over the years it has become my second home country. Fighting in Holland is very special every time. I have been away for a long time and I love every fight like it is my first.
LK: American fans love watching you, do you plan on fighting in the US any time soon?
AS: I love them too. I get a lot of emails from American fans and I am delighted. I will visit America soon for some training. Yeah MMA, here I come ; )
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.