There were mixed emotions among Bailey Sugden’s supporters last weekend following his latest outing for the world’s leading combat sports promotion and number one kickboxing league.
The 21-year old from Newark made his eighth appearance for GLORY on Saturday 28 September when he went head to head with unbeaten local favourite Asa Ten Pow in the joint Main Event on the card of GLORY 68 in Miami.
“We were all buzzing about Bailey’s performance on the night and absolutely gutted by the terrible decision, which went to his opponent,” said Dean Sugden, Bailey’s manager and head coach of Suggy’s Gym.
“And it wasn’t just Bailey’s corner, fans and followers who felt this way. Many of the top fighters and trainers in the 3,000-strong crowd at the James L Knight Centre agreed with us – they knew as well as we did that Ten Pow didn’t win that fight, The British Bulldog did.”
Back in Newark this week, Bailey said: “He didn’t hurt or trouble me in any way. I know I won and he knew I won – after the fight and before the decision he even told me he would like a rematch and would be back. Well, next time round I won’t be leaving it to the judges, I’ll knock him out.
“But before that, I’ve got my sights set on the biggest fight night in kickboxing history, when Rico Verhoeven takes on Badr Hari in Arnhem on Friday 21 December. I want to be on that card and after last weekend’s performance I’m confident I will be.”
The Suggy’s Gym team headed out to Miami knowing full well they would be facing a tough task, taking on the GLORY golden boy in his own backyard. But despite Ten Pow having five wins out of five fights for them, the Sugden camp saw this one as his toughest test to date.
“Bailey on the other hand has only ever been matched against the best in his weight class and so has faced six of the top ten ranked fighters to date,” added Dean. “You could perhaps argue that we aren’t building his career but this is the way we like it and, time and time again, we’ve proved that Bailey can hang with the big hitters in the division.”
Arriving in Miami on Tuesday, Bailey and his team made the most of the run up to the event, training at the world-famous Hard Knocks 365 gym alongside some of the biggest hitters in UFC history, doing promotional work on South Beach and taking full advantage of a few days in The Sunshine State. “We were treated really well over there, with GLORY proving once again that they are number one when it comes to looking after their fighters,” he said.
Confident that his preparation for the match up had been meticulous and that, with the support of leading nutritionist Dr Scott Robinson, all bases had been covered, when fight night arrived Bailey was looking forward to showing the world that all the talk about Ten Pow beforehand was nothing but hype.
A close first round saw the American trying to attack Bailey’s lead leg but the Newark fighter was happy to stand his ground, putting the pressure on Ten Pow with fast hand combinations and delivering a higher volume of punches and pressure.
Going into the second, Bailey took more control and dominated the exchanges. With no scores coming up on the big screen, his corner was determined to leave nothing to chance and agreed they would build on and rubber stamp some of the work which had sent Ten Pow reeling.
The third and final round was clearly Bailey’s as his constant pressure and better boxing subdued his opponent and his right hand effectively countered the low kicks thrown by Ten Pow.
“To say we were shocked when Bailey’s hand wasn’t raised after the final bell is putting it mildly,” said Dean. “Before we travelled out there, we believed that, even if it was close, we could still be celebrating a win for Bailey. And, along with many others there on the night, we didn’t think it was close anyway.
“The stats at the end of the fight showed Bailey landing 25 per cent more shots and throwing almost double the amount the entire fight. GLORY scoring criteria is supposed to recognise aggression and Bailey, who was pushing the pace throughout, didn’t allow his opponent to land without a return.
“So it was a bitter-sweet night for us all and especially for Bailey. He came, he conquered and did exactly what we’d asked him to do. But we will learn from this and use this injustice to get him even closer to his ultimate aim of becoming the most successful fighter to ever come out of the UK.
“A GLORY veteran with eight fights for them under his belt, he’s in a great place. Right now, he’s turning his attention to events closer to home, supporting his teammates walking out in Grantham this coming Saturday for our big Fight Max Superstar Fight League kickboxing show and of course he’ll getting behind his brothers Chad and Regis, who’ll both be boxing at the Harvey Hadden Stadium in Nottingham on Saturday 12 October.”
Official fight pictures by James Law / GLORY Kickboxing