After a disappointing result on the card of ACB 87 at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 19 May, Newark’s Regis ‘The First’ Sugden was quick to assure his fans that he will soon be back, stronger and better mentally, physically and technically.
Returning to the cage after a second break following further treatment on an ankle injury which led to major surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation two years ago, the 22-year old Suggy’s Gym MMA professional was defeated in the final minutes of his Lightweight clash with Stephen Martin of Derby.
Speaking after the contest, Regis said: “I don’t come back to easy fights; it’s not in my nature, it never will be because I only want to fight the best. But when you do, you have to be at your best and I wasn’t even close this time.
“It just wasn’t my night tonight but I’m still young, with a lot of learning to do. I’ve got loads of things to improve on and get right next time and I promise you haven’t seen anything like the finished article yet!”
“As always after a fight, there are so many people I have to thank. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my sponsors Extrudakerb, BMA Homes, Booster FightGear, Kitchen 52 and GSC, and my training partners at Suggy’s Gym, 4th Dimension and Leicester Shootfighters.
“Thanks too to all the fans who came to the show or watched the live stream and well done to my coach Andre Winner, who rolled back the years tonight, and to my other training partners who fought their hearts out.”
Looking back on the evening, Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden added: “Constantine ‘Cus’ D’Amato, the American boxing trainer and manager who handled the careers of Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson and José Torres, said ‘To see a man beaten not by a better opponent but by himself is a tragedy’. It’s one of my favourite quotes and unfortunately it sums up Regis’s fight last night for me.
“That’s not to take anything away from Stephen Martin, who’s a good fighter and was an awkward and experienced opponent. But Regis didn’t perform, he didn’t execute his game plan. Although the camp and the weight were both good, he simply didn’t get into his groove and, somewhere between the changing rooms and the cage, it just went wrong.
“After a hesitant first round, the second was much the same and, although Regis came out in the third with a little more purpose, it was a bit too late. Just as he started to land some punches on his opponent, Regis was taken down and, after some pretty intense ground work, was caught in an arm triangle. He went on his shield, refusing to tap, and the finish came with just over a minute to go in the third and final round.
“The good news is that there’s already an exciting offer on the table for us. Regis has been invited to go to Canada and train with MMA star Bibiano Fernandes da Silva Neto, a Brazilian professional mixed martial artist who has competed for K-1, DREAM, ONE Championship and King of the Cage.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and one that’s guaranteed to help him make good on his promise to carry on learning and become that finished article.”
Pictures by Rick Wilks, Primal Pixels Photography / Gary Orgles, GoPhotography