In the run-up to GLORY 72 Chicago last weekend, Nottinghamshire’s Bailey Sugden made no secret of his determination to ensure that the outcome of his latest appearance on the world’s leading kickboxing promotion would be down to him alone.
“I told everyone there’d be no judges needed this time around and I delivered,” said the Suggy’s Gym professional, who defeated Florida’s John Morehouse by TKO in the first round of the Main Card contest on Saturday 23 November.
The only UK fighter to walk out nine times for GLORY, Bailey staked his claim to regain his top 10 world ranking with an impressive and aggressive performance in front of a sell-out crowd at the Windy City‘s Wintrust Arena.
Still brooding after a controversial points loss to Asa Ten Pow in Miami in September, he vowed to stop John, something no one else had been able to do in the American’s 20 previous pro fights.
“John has fought in the Lightweight division and has never been wobbled or stopped in his three GLORY outings,” said Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden. “He went on record saying that if no Lightweight could hurt him, how would Bailey be able to do so at the lower Featherweight division? But nobody could have foreseen what was about to happen when the two of them stepped into the ring.
“Both men weighed in under the 143lbs limit and, faced with a 6ft tall opponent, it was vital for the us to get things right tactically. In the training camp, we’d been working on reducing our speed but increasing our power in every attack, being patient but aggressive the whole time. That may sound like a contradiction but the important thing was that Bailey knew exactly what was expected of him.”
Going on the attack from the opening bell, The British Bulldog delivered a quick left hook counter to a low kick from John, following it up with a thunderous right hand which sent his opponent reeling towards the ropes before going on to land a series a ferocious hooks and an inside low kick which dropped John for an 8-count just 90 seconds into the round.
Although John attempted to prevent the onslaught by tying the Newarker up, Bailey was in no mood to let him off the hook and, after the referee split the two fighters, he pushed forward calmly and patiently with some great body shots, feints and level changes.
Sending John reeling again with some big head shots, he kept up a non-stop attack until, with only the ropes holding the American upright, the referee stepped in to wave it off with just 45 seconds to go till the end of the first round and the UK fighter was declared the winner by way of a TKO.
“Am I happy with my performance? You bet I am – I said that my fate would be in my hands tonight and I lived up to my promise,” said Bailey afterwards.
“There’s a lot of love for Bailey in the US and his performance and aggressive style against a very tough and durable opponent will surely have lifted him back into the top 10 in the Featherweight division,” commented Dean. “He showed what you can achieve when you execute a perfect game plan and proved that he’s the biggest showman on the GLORY roster.
“There’s talk of another show early next year in Vegas but, if Zakaria Zouggary or Asa Ten Pow are injured before the one in Arnhem on Saturday 21 December, he would jump at the chance to step in with either of them. And obviously there’s nothing he’d love more than a rematch with Ten Pow, especially in front of 25,000 Dutch Moroccans.
Pictures by James Law / GLORY Kickboxing