More than three years after his last fight in the UK, Newark pro kickboxer Bailey Sugden walked out into the ring at The O2 in London on Saturday 9 October…
And, in his own words when he took the win by unanimous decision: “I came, I fought, I conquered!”
After Andy Turland, his original opponent on the Kickboxing Grand Prix card, pulled out the day before their match up was scheduled to take place, the Suggy’s Gym 23-year old went head-to-head with Matthieu Guevera who was already in London to corner for a fighter on another MTPG show that evening .
“If anything, the last-minute change added even more excitement for me,” said The British Bulldog. “My team thought Matthieu was a better opponent than Andy on paper and, given the unpredictability of how he’d fight, I was determined to show that I could make any adjustments necessary to dominate him.
“Matthieu was really game to take me on under my own rule set at such short notice. He showed real class in the fight, was very resilient and a really awkward opponent at times. But let’s face it, you don’t get to defend your WMC European Title successfully in two different countries as he has without being a quality operator!”
Over 150 of Bailey’s fans, friends and family were among the sell-out crowd at The 02 to cheer him on, raising the roof of the venue throughout the three-round fight and as his hand was raised after the final bell.
“The atmosphere was electric and the entire show was top notch,” he added. “I went out there determined to do my team, my fans and my sponsors proud and put on an equally top notch show of my own, proving to everyone that they were witnessing The Greatest Showman in action on Saturday!
“I came out of the fight uninjured and now I’m buzzing for the next one – I can’t wait to get back out there and do it all again.”
Someone else with his eye on Bailey’s future is his manager, coach and proud dad Dean Sugden who added his congratulations and comments online in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Bailey has come so far to make the adjustments he did at the last minute and dominate such a high level opponent,” he said.
“Without a doubt, he has a very exciting future ahead. At just 23-years old, he’s still developing physically and technically, which is a pretty scary proposition for everyone under him in the rankings.
“He’s already ranked Number 1 at 65kg, now his goal is to become Number 1 at 63.5kg as well, and to do that for me there’s maybe one UK fighter he needs to face and that’s Mo Adburham.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens next but we’d be looking at a massive fight and a big pay day. Bailey’s focus in recent years has been on fighting for top dollar on the biggest stage in the world, GLORY Kickboxing, and while both of them won two-fight deals Bailey went on to have nine fights across the world with GLORY and Mo was knocked out in his first contest.
“I think there should be some significant titles up for grabs as they’re both at the top of their game but there are a few options in the pipeline right now and we need to check where things are with GLORY at the moment.
“Saying that, we would definitely like to fight Mo for some silverware and his Number 1 spot at 63.5kg.”
Fight photos ©Natalia Rakowska