Newark’s Bailey Sugden was determined to follow in the footsteps of his father Dean and brothers Chad and Regis when he walked out into the ring for the main event of the FightMax Superstar Fight League show at Grantham Meres Leisure Complex on Friday 18 March.
Known for his exciting fighting style and explosive punching power, the Suggy’s Gym pro kickboxer did not disappoint, defeating his French opponent Ibrahim Madi by a unanimous decision to win the ISKA K-1 Rules Professional World Title.
And with his next World Title fight already lined up for later this year at the 02 Arena in London, The British Bulldog is determined to make sure he adds another belt to his collection in 2022.
In last Friday’s opening round, Ibrahim tried to attack Bailey’s legs with fast low kicks but the Newark fighter was one step ahead, pressing and pressuring his opponent with strong punches and kicks of his own.
With a minute to go in the round, Bailey floored his opponent with a flurry of punches and then piled on intelligent pressure. With Ibrahim unable to keep Bailey at bay as the end of round approached and with only the ropes holding him up, the Newark fighter forced another count on the current ISKA European Champion, who was then saved by the bell.
There was no let up for Ibrahim in the second round as Bailey pressed on, landing low kicks and punches and anticipating his opponent’s movement with a perfectly timed head kick which sent him to the canvas, forcing the third count in the fight.
And although Bailey was caught with a spinning back fist in this round, he walked straight through it, proving that not only does he possess all the offensive skills but also a solid chin.
Round three saw the Newark professional probing again as he hurt his opponent with great combos and a variety of techniques; and although on one occasion one of his kicks upended Ibrahim, no count was given.
In the fourth round, Ibrahim came out and had a go but Bailey soon put him back in his place with fluid combos and strong low kicks, pushing his opponent back into the ropes with his front teep to body and face.
“With Bailey staying disciplined and focused throughout the fifth and final round and continuing to hurt his opponent, it was clear that Ibrahim was getting desperate, launching some big techniques, but Bailey made him miss and made him pay every time,” said Dean Sugden.
“There was only ever going to be one result – after winning all five rounds and scoring so many knockdowns and counts against his more experienced opponent, Bailey was declared the new ISKA K-1 Rules Professional World Champion and, at 24 years old, he now has the world at his feet.”
“This camp has been amazing – we have made improvements, I’ve remained disciplined and I felt great in there,” said Bailey. “I’m now the ISKA World Champ at 63.5kg and already I’ve been offered another World Title fight down at 02 Arena. This year I am collecting belts and by end of 2022 I want to be fighting again on the biggest stage in the world.”
There was more success for the home team when Suggy’s Gym’s Chace Griffin stepped into the ring to fight the previously unbeaten Blayne Armitage from Powers Martial Arts in Sheffield for the Ramon Dekkers Challenge Belt.
In a contest that was always set to be a cracker with both Chace and Blayne coming with explosive fighting styles, it was Blayne who settled first, landing some big shots, but Chace responded with neat angles and counters, pushing his opponent back with some heavy punches and knees.
After Chace finished the round very strongly, knocking his opponent down with a perfectly timed right hand and then giving him a standing 8 count in the last 30 seconds, the second round saw both of them trading punches with Blayne trying to fight fire with fire.
“The late Ramon Dekkers would have been so impressed with this fight for the Ramon Dekkers Challenge Belt, as Chace created some amazing angles and carried real power in his hands and knees ” said Dean.
“But halfway through the round, after a barrage of punches and knees the Suggy’s Gym fighter landed a perfectly timed knee to his opponent’s chin, which sent him to the canvas. This time Blayne didn’t beat the count, the referee Paul Nicholls waved it off and Chace was declared the winner of the Ramon Dekkers Challenge belt by knock out.
“This bout was worthy of the Ramon Dekkers Challenge Belt and these two fighters will definitely move onto the world stage as both have exciting styles and real power. On this occasion, it was Chace who was on fire and once he smelled blood he was ruthless with his attacks.
“Earlier in the evening on the Amateur fight card there were two more emphatic wins for the Suggy’s Gym team, with Molly Barnwell defeating Irena Krcmarova from Sweatbox in Leeds by a unanimous decision and Lawrence White getting the win by TKO in his fight against Pro Striking in Birmingham’s Wez Tully.”
Photos by Gary Orgles, Rooster and Monkey Productions