In a weekend which saw two professionals and three amateurs representing Newark-based Suggy’s Gym in the ring, coaches, fighters and supporters travelled to The Netherlands, to West Sussex and closer to home to Bingham between Friday 17 and Sunday 19 May.
The three days saw professional kickboxer Bailey ‘The British Bulldog’ Sugden make his seventh appearance on the GLORY stage in Utrecht on Friday, while on Saturday his brother Regis ‘The First’ Sugden walked out at Bingham Leisure Centre for his second pro boxing match.
And in Crawley, three of Newark Amateur Boxing Club’s rising young stars took part in the semi-finals and finals of the England Boxing National Schools Championships 2019 on Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend began with Bailey on the card of the GLORY 65 SuperFight Series in Utrecht, where he faced Thailand’s Thong Fairfax in a Featherweight contest.
Making his seventh appearance on the world’s leading kickboxing promotion, Bailey took control over the first round with fast hand combinations and good low kicks. But his opponent, with five KOs in his last seven outings, put the heat on the 21-year old Newarker and, although Bailey traded blow for blow, Thong’s left leg kicks seem to have more effect.
With everything to fight for in the third round, it was a very closely contested three minutes in which Bailey’s total strikes exceeded those of the Thai. Bailey landed some spectacular techniques in the round but the split decision went in favour of Thong, with two judges awarding the win to Bailey, two awarding it Thong and the fifth and final judge giving it to Thong by one point.
“I didn’t perform at my best tonight and didn’t do what I normally do so well but, saying that, I thought the decision might have gone our way,” commented Bailey after the fight. “But we don’t lose, we learn and that’s what I will be doing, taking tonight’s lessons and learning from them.”
“The affection and support shown by everyone in Holland to me, my family and Bailey himself has always been fantastic,” said Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden. “It was a brilliant evening over there, with wins for two other GB fighters, Ammari Diedrick and Luke Whelan, and a great fight from Christi Brereton as well, all three of them action-packed and entertaining contests. Special thanks to Jahfarr Willnis for his help in the corner and to the friends who travelled to Utrecht to cheer us on too.
“As for Bailey, he will take defeat on the chin. We talk about transition, about development and about opportunity – tonight proves to me that you have to stay dedicated to your sport, to your profession and to your life. And if you don’t stay true to them all, you can’t complain when things don’t go your way.
“So above all I hope Bailey will take away a very valuable lesson in life and in doing so go on to reach his potential and live up to his vision for the future.”
Back in the UK on Saturday, it was Welterweight Regis’s turn to take centre stage on the card of The REAL Prospects in Bingham when he faced West Midlands-based boxer MJ Hall, a tricky southpaw regarded by many in the game as an awkward opponent for Regis in his second pro contest.
As the Suggy’s Gym 23-year old started the bout in control, landing some really effective shots to body and head, MJ retreated and looked to fire back but Regis was always one step ahead.
Settling into the fight, he began to really turn up the heat in the third round which saw his opponent trying to respond but backing off as he was unable to cope with Regis’s fire power. As the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds unfolded, Regis showed composure, skill and strength, staying in charge right up to the final bell, after which the referee awarded every round to the Newarker, taking him to two wins from his two pro outings.
“I was offered the chance to box on a massive event but we were always committed to this one, to staying fairly close to home so local fans would have the opportunity to be there with us. And as always they came out in strength – without them, these fights wouldn’t happen and I can’t thank them enough for their support.
“I’m very happy to get this first six-rounder under my belt so early in my new career. Now I’m looking to stay busy and hoping to box at least twice more before the end of the year.”
“Regis showed great composure throughout the bout,” added Dean. “Although he might have been unsure just how fit he was, there’s no doubt he made the six rounds’ duration look easy.”
In what was one of the busiest ever weekends for Suggy’s Gym, the three youngsters from Newark Amateur Boxing Club made their way to Crawley for the National Schools Championships.
“With 13-year old Lauren Workman drawn in the semi-finals against Blackpool’s Alice Pumphrey, the favourite and eventual winner in their category, it was always going to a tough contest for her,” said Dean.
“Her fellow club member Chloe Davies, also aged 13, made it through to the finals on Sunday after an emphatic win in her Saturday semi-final when she defeated a previously unbeaten opponent. Unfortunately, she just missed out on a win in the final but what a fantastic achievement for both Lauren and Chloe in their first boxing season.”
Completing the trio of youngsters taking part in the championships, Sam Hardy forced a stoppage against the previously unbeaten Lewis Robinson in the semis before going on to defeat Brendan Pearson from Crook ABC in the final of Class -56kg.
“Sam won this title last year and to do it two years running is a massive achievement,” added Dean. “It shows just how much he is learning and developing all the time.
“He started with us at a young age, initially kickboxing before switching to boxing as soon as he could. He’s a great student, very committed and loyal, who is reaping the rewards of his consistency in turning up week in, week out. He’s strong, skilful and very mature for a 13-year old – he has an old head on his shoulders which is a good thing when you’re in the ring facing another high level boxer.
“Professional or amateur, you don’t get anywhere if you stand still in this game and the programme we have in place for all of our boxers is second to none. We’ve extended our coaching staff, all volunteers and all Level 1 coaches, and between them Sid Yeomans, Steve Williams, Regis and Chad bring the experience of hundreds of amateur and professional fights to the corner.
“What’s next for Suggy’s Gym? On Saturday 6 July, the focus will be on Chad when he boxes unbeaten KO specialist Sebastian Slusarzyck from Nottingham in a Light Heavyweight Midlands Title bout on the card of BRAGGING RIGHTS at the Harvey Hadden Stadium.
“Tickets for this one are already being snatched up so you need to call us on 01636 605708 soon if you want to see Chad in action close to home.”
Photos from Utrecht by James Law / GLORY Kickboxing
Photos from Bingham by Rick Wilks, Primal Pixels Photography