On a show featuring Suggy’s Gym pro kickboxer Bailey Sugden going head to head with an opponent from Spain in the Main Eventand successfully defending his ISKA World Title, Saturday 11 March saw sponsors, fans, friends and families from across England and beyond joining forces to enjoy an action-packed evening at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre.
Kicking off the night in great style, there was plenty of excitement throughout the venue as the crowd welcomed Bailey Sugden into the ring to defend the ISKA World Title under K-1 rules that he first won there in 2022.
“In a -63.5kg contestagainst the strong, durable and very technical Pedro Ruiz from Spain, who holds the ISKA K-1 European Title, Bailey was clinical and a level above pretty much throughout the whole fight which is incredible given the quality of his opponent,” said Dean Sugden.
“His supporters were on their feet throughout the five rounds and definitely raised the roof when the fight came to an end and Bailey was declared the winner by a unanimous decision.”
Speaking after the show, Bailey commented: “Chace Griffin winning the ISKA European Title earlier in the evening definitely gave me that extra buzz before my own fight.
“Although I hadn’t watched any of Pedro’s previous contests, I knew he was tall and dangerous and was here in Grantham to fight. It was a real war, I thought we both gave great performances but I was really pleased with my own and think I showed just why I am the defending world champion.
“I’ll be ready to defend my belt as and when there is a worthy challenger and, as I said after last year’s win, my biggest hope is to get out to Japan this summer and take over the scene out there.”
“To retain his title, Bailey has to defend it again within 12 months but we want to remain active so we’ll be open to fight offers whether they’re at home or abroad,” said Dean. “And as he says, we would hope to get a defence in Japan in June of this year – there’s a huge collaboration between Rise and K-1 commanding audiences of up to 50,000 spectators.
In the other ISKA Title fight of the night, it was the turn of Suggy’s Gym’s Chace Griffin to step into the ring, this one for the vacant European Title against another Spanish opponent, Marcos Cruz.
“Fighting at -57kg, Chace was slow to get going and played to the strengths of his taller opponent early on in the fight,” said Dean. “But when he stepped up and fought to the game plan, that all changed and his opponent was floored four times in the last round, leaving the judges in no doubt about declaring him the winner and the new ISKA European Champion by a unanimous decision.
“Hopefully he will now be able to secure some fights with UK Fighters who are above him in the rankings and is prepared to defend either of his belts.
“There was more to come with two Ramon Dekkers Challenge Belts up for grabs on the night, the first of which was at -85kg for the International Challenge Belt, between Gladiator’s Fighting Gym‘s Loic Njeya from Cameroon/Switzerland and Reece Rowell from Essex Kickboxing Academy, which came to an end after three rounds when Reece withdrew and the decision went to Loic by TKO.
“Also on the card was a second Ramon Dekker Challenge Belt fight, featuring Dean Pattison from Grimsby‘s Hardwork MMA/4th Dimension and Sheffield Powers Martial Art’s Nathan Riddle.
“This one was at -77kg and went the full five rounds, at the end of which Dean was awarded the win and the Challenge Belt by a unanimous decision.
“In the other professional fight of the night, a three by three-minute contest between Mateo Capobianco from Pride Combat Athletics in Bracknell and Powers Martial Arts‘ Jordan Waring at -68kg that ended in a win by TKO for Jordan 1 minute 51 seconds into the first round.”
The latest FMSFL show brought together a total of 22 kickboxers, with those five professional fights in the second half of the night and six amateur match-ups in the first half, all of which can now be seen on YouTube.
“Putting on events like this is something we’ve been doing for over 20 years now and even after so long there are still a lot of challenges to be met.
“With so many high profile fights on the card, I have to admit I was pretty nervous about this one. But thanks to the support of our sponsors GS Couriers and Motorfinity and a fantastic team both in the run up to the show and on the night, including Chad Sugden on hand to help as coach together with a strong team including Regis Sugden, Irvine Taylor, Steve and Megan Williams and Sid Yeomans, I think it’s safe to say the whole event was a great success and I’m sure everyone in the crowd will agree with me.”
“And with Bailey and Chace both flying the flag at such a high level as professionals, we’re sure we’ll be seeing more students at Suggy’s Gym on the amateur side soon.
“In the meantime, from a personal point of view this is going to be a big year for me as I have now been appointed as an England Coach on the performance side and started work on my Level 3 qualification, a very intensive course which involves both the practical and theoretical sides of performance coaching, leading to a nationally recognised qualification with the England Boxing governing body.
“So all in all, a busy year ahead for us here at Suggy’s Gym and one we’re looking forward to sharing and enjoying with everyone both here in Newark and beyond!”
Official fight photos by Rick Wilks, Primal Pixels Photographs
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