Nieky Holzken will be celebrating his 40th birthday later this year but the kickboxing legend is out to prove that age is just a number. He is coming off an extended absence after a damaging defeat but it definitely didn’t affect the Dutchman’s confidence.

Holzken has taken the loss to Sinsamut Klinmee in his stride and points out there were extenuating circumstances behind that defeat,

“I was supposed to fight Islam Murtazaev and trained for ten weeks with big gloves for that fight. Four days before I was due to go to Singapore, I got a call that he could not fight.”

Time and expense

No fighter wants to see the time and expense of a ten week training camp go to waste so when Holzken was offered another fight he accepted without hesitation,

“On that day, Liam Nolan fought and won by KO. They offered him to fight me one week later. I signed the contract, but it was not kickboxing rules. It was Muay Thai rules. I didn’t train in small gloves, but that’s my fault. You don’t want to waste those ten weeks. You sacrifice everything, and you want to fight.”

The goalposts would shift again when Holzken was offered a fight against a different opponent under a different ruleset instead,

“One day later, I got a call to say that the opponent has changed again, and it’s Sinsamut. I said I wanted to fight kickboxing rules, but Sinsamut only wanted to fight Muay Thai. So I decided with my family and my team that I was going to fight.”

One punch

Having prepared to fight a kickboxing bout in boxing gloves he found himself competing under Muay Thai rules and wearing MMA gloves. Holzken was in shape but feels that these small details made a big difference,

“I was in very good shape, everything was working out very well, the low kicks were on point, ,y conditioning was on point, I wasn’t tired. The only thing was that I had a game plan for Islam with ten ounce gloves. And that fight was with four ounce gloves, which changes everything.”

In hindsight Holzken realizes he should not have accepted the matchup but it doesn’t sound like he has been dwelling on that defeat,

“It was my fault for accepting it, but I accept that I lost by one punch. It was a good punch. He caught me, and I went down. I got over it very fast.”

Just a number

At ONE Fight Night 11 next month he faces Arian Sadiković. The German is a decade younger than Holzken who wants to prove that ‘age is just a number’,

“For me, age is just a number. I don’t feel 39. I don’t train like I’m 39. I train like I did when I was 25. I only have to keep in mind that I have to recover more, eat more, and rest. I’m going to win, and people are going to see that I don’t fight like somebody who’s 39.”

Holzken has two decision losses to reigning lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel. His compatriot appears to have his number but the K-1 veteran has not given up hope of capturing that belt.

For Holzken it is not about earning one more pay day to set him up for retirement. The 39 year old is still extremely ambitious and wants to be a champion again,

“I don’t come for money fights. I come for my legacy and to win. I know I have a good name in the kickboxing world, but I want to be champion again. I want to stop when I’m champion. That’s my goal. And I’ll do everything to get there.”