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LiverKick.com Exclusive Andy Souwer Interview

  • Published in Interviews

Andy Souwer (C) Susumug.comThere 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...

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Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato Set for Shootboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

Souwer SatoK-1 may be quiet these days, but that doesn't mean the rest of the kickboxing world is just sitting back.  Shootboxing has their 2nd big show of 2011 coming up later this month, and they have just announced quite the main event.  Headlining Shootboxing 2011 act.2 on April 23 will be former multi-time Shootboxing S-Cup and K-1 MAX Grand Prix champion Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato.  According to our rankings, that's a clash between the #3 and #5 fighters in the world at 70kg, and no matter how you see it, this is undoubtedly a great fight.

Souwer will come into the fight with a considerably edge in Shootboxing rules; an edge he has used to his advantage before, including his quick submission victory over Hinata last year.  He also has the advantage of already holding a win over Sato - the two men met once before in K-1 MAX in 2007 with Souwer scoring the decision win (video below).  But Sato is an incredibly skilled fighter, and an opponent you can never underestimate.  After a rocky 2008, the Japanese star has regained his footing somewhat, going 9-3 in the last two years.  He will be coming in off an upset loss to Armen Petrosyan, while Souwer has two recent upset loses of his own, to Abraham Roqueni under K-1 rules, and to Toby Imada at Shootboxing's 2010 S-Cup.

I see this being a highly technical affair, with both men using superior skill.  The trouble for Sato is that Souwer may just have a few more skills in his arsenal.  In addition to the experience in Shootboxing's unique rules, Souwer also is skilled at fighting in the clinch - and area that has shown to be a weakness for Sato, as seen most recently in the Armen Petrosyan fight.  As he typically does, Sato will have a reach advantage here, and as always, he'll know how to use it.  I expect he will try to keep on the outside and pick Souwer apart, but Souwer should be able to break through that range, get inside, and cause Sato enough damage to take the win.  This is definitely one of those fights where the old adage of a human chess match will come to life.

This show will serve as a benefit for disaster relief in Japan, with many of the fighters already promising to donate their purses to relief efforts.  Also announced for this card are some of Shootboxing's biggest homegrown names: Girls S-Cup champion RENA, Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe (who is also scheduled for Krush on April 30, so may end up dropping out of one or the other), and the popular Hiroaki Suzuki.

Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato, K-1 MAX, 2007:

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Could Shootboxer RENA's Popularity Help FEG?

  • Published in Kickboxing

RENAI'm not sure if what I'm posing at this point is a rhetorical at this point or if it actually has value. Recently SHOOTBOXING Girls S-Cup 2009 and 2010 champ Rena Kubota (simply called RENA) made a television appearance on the Female Athletes TV show on TBS, and the ratings she scored for her segment were quite positive. The overall rating for the show was 11.8%, with RENA's segment where she embarrassed three male comedians in the ring received a staggering 16.8%.

RENA, to say the least, has proven that she has the attention of Japan's fickle audiences, and once again on a show featuring female athletes from different sports, was able to prove that combat sports can be seen as "cool." This is immensely important for combat sports. Recently, @DanHerbertson, @Kuri_Kinton and myself (@LiverKickdotcom) had a discussion about the future of combat sports in Japan. Stuart Tonkin (Kuri Kinton), of course, for the uninitiated has been in Japan for ages and does work for K-1, while Herbertson is MMAFighting.com's Japan reporter.

The talk came on the heels of Herbertson and myself discussing TBS and FEG's future, which at this point is a big unknown. TBS had a two year deal with FEG that expired at Dynamite!!, which means as of right now the future of K-1 MAX and DREAM are uncertain on television. This of course could all be idle talk and TBS picks FEG programming back up and simply alters the contract a bit, but if they opt out it is incredibly uncertain for the future. K-1 MAX was the brainchild of FEG and TBS, used mainly to capitalize on the popularity of Japanese Middleweight kickboxer Masato. Masato scaled back his participation and soon retired, leaving MAX in a bad spot.

Then there is DREAM. DREAM is essentially a venture between FEG and what we all knew as DSE. If you don't remember DSE, think back to PRIDE. K-1 currently resides on Fuji TV, who killed off PRIDE's programming after the yakuza scandal DSE had and refuse to associate with that again. This means even if Fuji TV, who have a great relationship with Kazuyoshi Ishii, pick up K-1 MAX, DREAM might be without a home.

Are you following where RENA comes into play yet? Satoshi Ishii's popularity is in the balance right now, and if he disappears again for a prolonged period of time or says something ridiculously stupid in interviews, well, that is it for Ishii. Ishii really needs better handlers, but then again, that won't change anything now. With proper management from the beginning we wouldn't have these issues with Ishii. K-1 has used RENA before, in 2009 she participated in their Korean MAX show where she had a tough extra round decision loss to Su Jeong Lim after being promoted as one of the show's headliners.

RENA has rebound, though, having an incredible 10-fight win streak after that loss and taking two SHOOTBOXING tournaments, which is nothing short of spectacular. For TBS to feel comfortable with further FEG programming, they need some sort of star to push, a Japanese star, and there have not been any outside of Ishii that have presented themselves. If you think back, since the fall of PRIDE there have been no stars created, everything has been left over from PRIDE and earlier K-1 success. Using a female fighter like RENA might not attract the crowd that Japanese broadcasters and sponsors are looking for, but it will bring in viewers. At least until they finally find that "next Masato" they are grasping at straws for. There is a very, very good chance that K-1's KOSHIEN division, which we all laughed at years ago, can provide that next big star for them. There have already been a few fighters not named HIROYA who have come from the KOSHIEN program who have gone on to have success and could be huge stars. [source]

Video of RENA's appearance after the break.

 

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Buakaw Por Pramuk vs. Dzabar Askerov Set for Sept. 2 in Los Angeles

  • Published in K-1

BuakawOriginally, Buakaw Por. Pramuk was supposed to fight over the summer in the United States for Stand Up Promotions, something that excited U.S. fans, giving them a possible opportunity to see one of the world's top kickboxers and most popular thai fighters live in person. Sadly that fell through due to Buakaw's links to the Thai Fight series at the time. It looks like the foundation of the new Muay Thai Premier League has secured Buakaw Por. Pramuk to fight for them as well though, and the kicker? They announced yesterday that their first show in their new series will take place in Los Angeles, California.

That really doesn't come as a shock, though, as California plays host to a lot of modern Muay Thai shows over the past few years, being one of the hot spots for United States Muay Thai next to New York City and Las Vegas.

Buakaw Por. Pramuk is set to square off with Dzabar Askerov on September 2nd. On top of that, there will be a rematch between Baxter Humby and John Wayne Parr as a part of JWP's impressive world tour that he is doing in 2011 for his retirement. [source]

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Shootboxing 2011 Act 1 Results and Updates

  • Published in Asia

(C) GBRShootboxing kicked off its 2011 season last night with "Act 1." The main event was a rematch between two Shootboxing legends in the way of Hiroki Shishido and Bovy Sor. Udomson. Bovy took a KO win over Shishido in 2009, so on the 19th Shishido was looking for some revenge. Shishido was coming off of two losses and a win here was a big deal for him, as he took all five rounds against Bovy to seal the victory and kick off 2011 the right way. After the bout, Bovy claimed that 2011 would be his last year competing, and that he wants to finish out his career in Shootboxing.

The semi-main event saw more MMA crossover for Shootboxing, as Kuniyoshi Hironaka tried his hand at Shootboxing against Satoru Suzuki. Suzuki made short work of Hironaka, knocking him out with a big right hook in the first round to end it. Hironaka fights for Cage Force and was able to at least score a takedown during the bout, but there is no ground work in Shootboxing, so when it was time to get back up to their feet it was curtains for the grappler against the former boxing champion. This win was important for the former boxer, whose kickboxing career was not exactly on the right track before.

There was more MMA crossover for the show, as SRC fighter Shigeki Osawa made his way to the Shootboxing ring to take on Hiroaki Suzuki. You might remember Suzuki from his previous Shootboxing bout against Mitsuhiro Ishida, and this fight saw more of the same as Osawa is a wrestler and was able to score some points with his grappling, but the hands and feet of Suzuki were too much for him to compete with. Osawa proved he was tough, though, and held on for the full five rounds to drop the decision.

So now we look forward to April 23, where Shootboxing has announced that the next card will be a big one. There are three fighters announced for the card, including Shootboxing Japan Super Bantamweight Champion Ryuya Kusakabe, Girl's S-Cup Champion RENA and 3-time S-Cup Champion Andy Souwer will all be in action. The inclusion of Souwer and RENA on one card is huge, showing that Shootboxing doesn't plan on winding down any time soon. [source]

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Photo of the Day: RENA and Ai Takahashi Rematch in ShootBoxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

While there are debates ongoing in the United States MMA world about the state of female fighters now that Zuffa owns Strikeforce, in Japan ShootBoxing is committed to bringing women's fights to the masses. In just a few days, ShootBoxing's third card of the year will take place and one of the feature fights is a rematch from last year between RENA and Ai Takahashi. The photo below if from that bout, as there is recent talk in the press about the two women getting into a war of words, with Takahashi bringing up RENA's recent loss to a high school student.

(C) SportsNavi

If you are wondering who supports RENA, look no further as a group of Junior High students have shown their love for RENA, from RENA's official blog.

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Buakaw's Next Fight: Feb. 12

  • Published in Kickboxing

Buakaw Nuit des Titans2010 Shootboxing S-Cup champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk has just been announced for an upcoming fight.  On February 12, the 2 time former K-1 MAX champion will main event the "Nuit des Titans" card held in France.  His opponent will be Youssef Adgham-Boughanem, a French-Moroccan Muay Thai fighter.  The fight will be under full Muay Thai rules.

Boughanem has good experience, and is coming off a strong 2010 where he made the finals of the Isuzu Thai Fight tournament, ultimately losing to Fabio Pinca.  He's definitely not a can, but he is a huge underdog again Buakaw.  There's no shame in that as Buakaw is the clear #2 70kg fighter in the world at this point, and is currently riding a nice 6 fight win streak that includes his S-Cup championship run.

Since parting ways with K-1 at the end of 2009, Buakaw has been fighting in various organizations throughout the world.  This announcement also comes on the heels of Shootboxing revealing that Buakaw would be featured in their 2011 season.  Although it's unfortunate to have him out of K-1, it's nice seeing him compete in these different settings, and particularly great to see him back in Muay Thai competition as we see here.  It feels like he has transitioned into a new phase of his career where he faces various regional talents looking to take a shot at the legend.  These may not be the most competitive match-ups, but it is fun to see Buakaw do his thing.

Come Feb. 12, Buakaw's 2011 begins.  I don't expect Boughanem to provide much of a challenge just yet, so we will see just who can indeed challenge the champ in the new year.

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Shootboxing 2011 Schedule Released

  • Published in Kickboxing

We're still coming off of the big rush of the year-end kickboxing shows when Shootboxing gives us something to look forward to over the next year. There will be 5 shows spread out over the rest of the year, the first in February and the last in November. Expect the big names to return, with Buakaw Por. Pramuk looking to defend his Shootboxing S-Cup Championship honor, as will newcomer Toby Imada who made a giant impression making it further than anyone expected a MMA fighter who specializes in submissions and judo would make it in a stand up tournament. Also returning with be Andy Souwer, Takaai Umeno and Hiroki Shishido.

The schedule unfolds as such:

SHOOT BOXING2001 acts. 1 - 5, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

  1. February 19
  2. April 23
  3. June 5
  4. September 10
  5. November 11

After all of the surprises that unfolded in 2010, expect 2011 to be another dynamite year for that strange kickboxing promotion with standing submissions and throws. Shootboxing has really gone out of its way to provide dynamic, exciting events for fans of K-1 MAX. [source]

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Shootboxing Announces New Fights

  • Published in Kickboxing

Shigeki OsawaShootboxing has made a handful of fight announcements in the past few days as their 2011 act.1 show on February 19 begins to take shape. Already announced was a main event rematch between Shootboxing’s top Japanese star HIROKI SHISHIDO and BOVY SOR. UDOMSON that promises to be a fun fight. Over the past week, 3 new fights have been added to the show:

SHIGEKI OSAWA vs. HIROAKI SUZUKI

Osawa (pictured, in white) is an interesting addition to Shootboxing’s roster. An MMA fighter with a strong wrestling background, Osawa’s professional career has largely been in SRC, where he’s had a number of wins under MMA rules. He’s also an accomplished wrestler and is looking to represent Japan at the 2012 Olympics in London. He’s a potentially great signing for Shootboxing, as Japanese fans love a national sports star, and could really take some interest in Osawa. Normally an MMA fighter with a wrestling background doesn’t have much of a chance in a stand-up organization, but this is Shootboxing, and Osawa’s wrestling skills could help him earn a Toby Imada style victory via takedowns. Shootboxing is pushing the idea that there is a “new style” in the organization with an emphasis on throws and takedowns, and there’s no doubt Osawa is there to help encourage that style. He’s got a very tough debut opponent though, as Hiroaki Suzuki is one of the best young stars in Shootboxing and is the marquee fighter of their 65kg division. He’s coming in off an S-Cup win over Mitsuhiro Ishida – another debuting MMA fighter with a wrestling background. Suzuki shut him down and knocked him out, and will look to do the same here.

Osawa had this to say about the fight and his lofty goals, courtesy of Nightmare of Battle:

“I thought striking was the core of SB but at the S-cup, applying takedowns cleverly while also exchanging strikes, MMA fighter Imada left a deep impression on me. But if it’s me I’m confident that I can do even more awesome takedowns and fire up the arena, and since I’m doing this I want to aim for the Shoot Boxing belt as well. My goal is to have reached the top of both SB and MMA when I win the gold medal in London.”

KUNIYOSHI HIRONAKA vs. TBA

Hironaka is another MMA fighter, although he has competed in Shootboxing before, KO-ing Shinichiro Kuroki at Ishin 1 last February. Hironaka is the Cage Force Lightweight champion, and has fought in both Dream and the UFC. He holds a 2002 win over Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz. No word yet on his opponent.

AI TAKAHASHI vs. ZAZA SOR AREE

Shootboxing’s #2 in the women’s division, Ai Takahashi returns to action here. Last year, Takahashi made it to the finals at the Girls’ S-Cup where she was finally defeated by RENA after two extension rounds in an excellent fight. She’s one of the women out there who can give RENA a real challenge, and it seems likely those two will clash again this year. Zaza Sor Aree is a Muay Thai fighter, who also competed at last year’s S-Cup where she was choked out by American Kate Martinez in the quarter-finals. I’ll be interested to see her back, but I don’t see her defeating Takahashi here.

Those four fights likely make up the top portion of the card, and make a great night of fights so far.

One final Shootboxing note – this weekend is the first event in the 2011 Young Ceaser’s Cup. Hopefully we will have results from that show up on Monday.

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Feb 5: Andy Souwer In Action

  • Published in Kickboxing

ElDesaafioNew fight announcement here coming from Spain: on February 5, former K-1 MAX and Shootboxing S-Cup champion Andy Souwer will be in action.  Souwer, our #3 ranked middleweight fighter, will be facing Spanish fighter Abraham Roqueni in the main event of a show billed as El Desafio K-1 ("The Challenge" in English).  The fight is 3 X 3 minute rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.

It's good to see Souwer back in action here.  The normally busy Souwer had a relatively slow 2010, as he spent much of the year recovering from an eye injury, as well as searching for a new home after being ousted from K-1 MAX.  But Souwer has often spoken of his desire to fight frequently, so a busy schedule against various opponents suits him well.  Obviously, Souwer is the massive favorite here, but Roqueni may be game to make this an interesting fight.  Nicknamed "The Demon", Roqueni has been around for a few years, competing in Muay Thai and various other styles, and he holds a win over Jose Reis.  Check out the Highlight reel on Roqueni below - he's aggressive, and combines KO power with some devastating kicks, especially leg kicks.  If he pushes Souwer, this could be fun.  Souwer however always has the ability to take his opponents right out of their games, drawing them into a technical battle that they can't win, and there's a good chance we'll see that on Feb. 5.

The rest of the card includes a number of Spanish fighter, with a few fights of interest to international fight fans.  Germany's Dennis Schneidmiller faces Fran Palenzuela. Hafid El Boustati, who defeated Chahid Oulad El Hadj at this time last year, faces Manuel Hinojo.  And Oliver Tinda faces Younnes El Mhassani, the man rumored to be challenging Artem Levin in It's Showtime in March.

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