ONE: First Strike promised a lot of fireworks and it delivered. Among the knockouts and action, kickboxing legend Andy Souwer announced his retirement from the sport after losing in the featherweight Grand Prix quarterfinals.
Souwer lost by technical knockout to Marat Grigorian after suffering a leg injury in the final 33 seconds of the second round.
The Dutch fighter tried his best to stay in the match and earn points for the judges to consider. However, Souwer's body didn't allow him to continue. He admitted that it was not the way he wanted to go out:
"Twenty-four years already as a professional. All my life, I fought a lot and to end like this is pretty difficult," Souwer reflected after the loss. "Especially that I know my wife and my kids and my family are watching. And I have a loss again. In the last couple of years, it was tough, it was a bumpy ride in private and also in the sport and in the martial arts world."
Andy Souwer's legendary career in ONE and elsewhere
38-year-old Souwer had already made his mark in the world of kickboxing. Since starting to fight professionally in 1999, Souwer became a two-time K-1 World MAX champion, four-time Shootboxing World tournament champion and an It's Showtime 70MAX world champion.
He has amassed a total of 184 professional fights with 161 wins. In his 23 losses, he was only knocked out six times. Four of those losses came in his last five bouts and it was clear that father time had begun catching up.
For the last time, and inside the ONE Championship circle, the legendary Dutch kickboxer bids farewell:
"Thank you to martial arts, I stood up and it helped me through my life. It brought me a lot of fortune, not in the way of money, but also a lot of dedication, a lot of spiritual respect, and a being a good human being. That’s what my trainers brought to me and I want to thank everybody. It’s too short, it is too emotional right now to thank everybody, but what is really important now is that the future looks bright with Marat in the top four. There’s a lot of great fighters, almost all, they are former opponents. I think it’s time to say goodbye guys."