The world’s leading kickboxing promotion returned to the UK for the first time in five years on Saturday 2 June, when GLORY 54 Birmingham came to the Genting Arena.
Headlined by two championship fights, one of which saw the Dutch King of Kickboxing Rico Verhoeven retain his title, the action-packed card featured some of Britain’s top talent.
After sustaining an injury at GLORY 52 Los Angeles, Newark’s Bailey ‘BadBoy’ Sugden came out of a training camp of just two weeks to take on Russia’s Aleksei Ulianov in a Featherweight bout which ended in a no contest result in the second round.
The Suggy’s Gym professional had been in a race against time to get fit but, in true BadBoy style, was determined not to let down his army of fans by pulling out of his fourth appearance on GLORY.
“Every fight I’ve had on GLORY has been an amazing experience but this one, being on home soil, was particularly special for me,” said 20-year old Bailey.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for and when it was stopped we thought it was a win for Newark. But we came to fight and entertain and I think we did both.
“The media attention both before and after the event was incredible; anyone who knows me will know how much I love the limelight and I’m already looking forward to being the subject of a real-life documentary by Fight Network.
“But most of all, I’m looking forward to getting back in the GLORY ring. My thanks to everyone who came to Birmingham to cheer me on, now watch this space – Triple B is uninjured and he will be back!”
Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden added: “It was a bittersweet night for me. I was delighted to have been involved in helping to bring the world’s premier kickboxing promotion back to the UK and to witness the performances of some of the fighters we’ve seen on our own Road To Glory shows. Win or lose, they showed they’d earned their place on that stage on Saturday night.
“As a huge fan of Josh Jauncey, I was proud and privileged to be asked to help in his corner and play a small part in what was a great victory for him over Chris Baya too. And, regardless of the outcome of his fight, there was pride from me too in the heart and skill showed by Bailey who was determined not to let any of his fans down and went out there on only two weeks’ training.
“But the decision to declare the fight a no contest was a bitter blow for us all. Bailey was up on the score cards after the first round and the fact that referee didn’t deduct a point for the Russian’s constant tripping and throwing was particularly frustrating for me.
“When the fight was stopped Alexsei had two cuts, one of which we believed was caused by his clinching, tripping and taking Bailey down – illegal in GLORY rules and surely an intentional foul? At this point, we thought we had the win but the ref ruled it void due to an unintentional accidental clash of heads causing the cut.
“The good news is that Bailey is uninjured; no further damage was sustained and he’s fit and ready to fight again whenever the call comes, which it surely will. And when it does he’ll waste no time claiming his rightful place as the GLORY poster boy!”
In the meantime, planning is already well under way for Road To Glory 3 which takes place at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre on Saturday 6 October. “After two successful shows in Grantham in March and October last year, Road To Glory is firmly established as the showcase event for UK fighters looking to follow in Bailey’s footsteps,” added Dean.
“Once again, GLORY will be backing us all the way as we bring together this unprecedented opportunity for our home-grown talent to secure a place on the international stage.”
Pictures by James Law / GLORY Kickboxing