A capacity crowd at Nottingham’s Harvey Hadden Stadium saw local favourite Chad ‘2 Slick’ Sugden make a victorious return to the ring on Saturday 20 October, when the Suggy’s Gym professional made good on his promise to give his army of supporters a night to remember.
Boxing at a slighter heavier weight than his usual Light Heavyweight division, Chad looked fit and strong as he walked out to a roof-raising chant of ‘Sweet Caroline’ to go head to head with Latvia‘s Jevgenijs Andrejevs over four rounds.
A last-minute replacement as Chad’s opponent, the Latvian southpaw had previously gone the distance with Tony Bellew and came into the fight with a record of 10 wins, four by KO. But from the outset, it was obvious that the Nottingham-born boxer would be taking no prisoners and he was quick to take control of the fight with good use of jab and intelligent movement.
Jevgenijs tried to counter with big looping hooks but, determined to live up to his nickname, Chad was just ‘2 Slick’ for his opponent, landing some ferocious punches with pitch-perfect timing without wasting a single shot.
As the first two rounds progressed, it was clear that the Newark 24-year old was enjoying being back. His patience was unprecedented and he continued to pile on the pressure with real purpose.
Going into the third, he stepped it up even further as he put his opponent under more sustained pressure. Jevgenijs claimed a low blow to survive the round and avoid going down but Chad was ruthless yet clinical in the final round when he started to whip shots in from all angles.
Given the win by a unanimous decision of 40-35, Chad congratulated his opponent on getting to the final bell and said: “I felt as if I’d never been out of the ring, the sharpness was still there and it was great to be back. The atmosphere was amazing and I can’t thank everyone who made the effort to support me enough.
“Now it’s time to keep building the momentum and, with that as my aim, I’m hoping to be back in action again before Christmas.”
Promoter Scott Calow commented: “Watching Chad box is always the highlight of the show for me. All in all, It was a great night for Nottingham boxers, with Ekkow Essuman winning an English Title in style in front of a capacity crowd.”
There was more praise for the Suggy’s Gym fighter’s performance from Jamie Cox’s trainer John Costello. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Chad over the past few months. Tonight he looked strong and his ring IQ was very special. He’s a quick learner with massive potential who’s still young and I’ve no doubt he will achieve great things in the sport.”
Summing up the night, Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden said: “After almost a year out, this was in many respects a homecoming for Chad. But the break has given him a chance to re-focus and, if anything, his determination to pursue his journey to big things in the boxing world is now even stronger than ever.
“His return to the ring was better than any of us could have anticipated. He was punch perfect at times against a very durable opponent, unfazed by Jevgenijs’ antics throughout the fight, punishing him at every opportunity and demonstrating that he has the pedigree to go to the very top in boxing.”
Pictures by Dan Kelly, DK Action Imagery