Peter “The Dutch Lumberjack” Aerts, easily one of the top five heavyweight kickboxers in the history of the sport, has finally announced his retirement. This is interesting since Aerts has been having retirement fights since at least 2012, and was even scheduled to participate in an event in Japan in August, but in a press conference, he said he was having too much trouble recovering from various injuries and would be officially retiring.
Aerts turned pro in 1985, though his first recorded fight didn’t come until 1988. Aerts competed in 17 K-1 World Grand Prix tournaments, winning it three times, and coming in second three times, earning him the alternate and entirely appropriate nickname of “Mr. K-1.” His first Grand Prix victory came in 1994, and his last appearance was in 2010, when he lost in the finals after a thrilling run through the tournament.
The 1998 K-1 GP is probably one of Aerts’ best overall performances, since he ran through his three opponents on that night in a combined time of 6:43, finishing off the finals against Andy Hug, a top kickboxer in his own right, with one of Aerts’ devastating high kicks.
The other amazing thing about Aerts’ 1998 GP performance is his fight against Mike Bernardo in the semi-finals. Bernardo is a deeply religious man and usually has at least one cross on his shorts. In response, Aerts not only put 666 on his shorts, but had it adorned on his walkout flannel vest (Because he’s the lumberjack). Aerts was 2-3 against Bernardo coming into that fight, and dispatched the South African in the first round with a TKO after dropping him twice. Hail Satan, I guess.
Ultimately, Aerts has accumulated a record of 105-34-2 with 79 stoppage wins. He is also the only person that’s faced Semmy Schilt more than once and end up with a winning record, going 3-2 against the four-time Grand Prix winner, and being the first person to defeat Schilt in a tournament. Sadly, Aerts seems to have left kickboxing the same way he entered it, a decision loss to yet another four-time Grand Prix champion, Ernesto Hoost. Aerts will now focus on training and coaching the next generation of fighters.