Sugden Set To Defend World Title

Grantham, 11 March 2023, Newark’s world champion kickboxer, Bailey Sugden, defends the world title he won against France’s Ibrahim Madi twelve months prior, in what will be his first fight in a year, against Spaniard, Pedro ‘Mimao’ Ruiz.

It’s not because he didn’t want to, or there was nothing available to him, the 25-year-old son of Nottinghamshire fight figure, Dean Sugden, who trains under his father at Suggy’s Gym, had suffered an ankle injury, one which, for now at least, stole his dream.

That dream, like any K1 fighter, is to fight in Japan, and one which Bailey was actually preparing for last summer with him due to appear in an eight-man, K1 World GP super featherweight tournament, in Yokohama, Japan; injury though, saw that fall through and, although the fighter nicknamed ‘The British Bulldog’ could have fought in December, the timing then, it just wasn’t right.

“I’ve been ‘training’ for the past four months or so,” explained Bailey.

“But, right now, that training level is back to full-on, training three times a day (instead of two).

“Fighting though, it’s very much a mental game, prior to the fight, than it is a physical one, and having that self-belief that you’re the best, goes a long way.

“When I got injured, last year, I rolled my ankle when skipping, and my foot went the way it’s not supposed to.

“I still went to training that evening; then, the following day, I went to A&E and later, for an MRI scan, which showed that there was two sprains, and lots of bruising.

“Granted, I could have actually fought in the December, but the training for that would have been very minimal.

“I couldn’t do too much (leg/foot-work) because of the sprains and the bruising, and that could last up to six months, so it wasn’t worth the risk.

“I’ve never had an injury that’s pulled me out of contest, so this one, it had to be the one that took my dream away, for now at least.”

At the tournament itself, Sugden was replaced by the Greek fighter, Stavros Exakoustidis, he losing in the opening round of a tournament that was won by a home fighter, Leona Pettas, in an all-Japan final – the tournament also featured fighters from Spain (Ayoub Segiri), Thailand (Nakrob Fairtex) and Morocco (Adam Bouarourou).

Now granted, the Newark fighter may not have realised his dream last September, but he is hopeful that another opportunity will present itself, and in the not-too-distant future.

“I’ve already done quite a lot in my career, and there’s still plenty of options available to me,” admitted Bailey.

“For me though, the legacy, it’s been made so, going to Japan, as I’d been invited over (last year) and was down as one of the main fighters in the (eight-man) tournament, just to have a main card fight there would be a dream, and to be in a tournament, that would be unreal.

“It has to be the dream of any K1 fighter starting out.

“As for this (world title defence, first appearance since defeating Ibrahim Madi for the 63.5kg title nearly twelve months ago), the opponent has to be deemed worthy.

“Now I’m the number one guy, there’s a big target on my back.

“Afterwards though, we are looking at options, although I’m certainly not looking past this opponent, because I’ve got everything to lose.

“I’m always ready to fight though, and can be ready at a couple of weeks’ notice.”

Ruiz comes into the contest with Sugden boasting a professional record of 18 wins (9 KOs), 6 losses, 2 draws; the 32-year-old Madrid fighter has already held several championships including the Spanish, and International, whilst having contested in countries like Greece, Thailand, France, and Abu Dhabi (Yas Island), to name a few.

Going into the world title fight with Ruiz, Sugden’s training schedule has already been upped to what it was during his rehabilitation, and return from injury, a brief overview of which is –

TRAINING SCHEDULE (approx.)

MONDAY & WEDNESDAY 3x pads and footwork, boxing and kickboxing, fitness work

TUESDAY & THURSDAY Strength work, steady run

FRIDAY Caveman circuits, short-run (body dependant)

SATURDAY Sparring

SUNDAY Prep day for the following week

He adding about what’s in his immediate future, and the need for even more support, that: “My base-level fitness is usually quite good and we’ll be looking at sparring a few weeks out from the contest.

“That can be either here, in Suggy’s Gym, or out and about, but I do need a good, high level of sparring.

“As the champion though, I’d expect to be taking at least a thousand fans to Grantham.

“I had around 700 last time out, but, with this one, there’s a longer build-up to it as well.”

Sponsored by Booster Fight Gear, AMJ Watches, GSC Carriers, Moto-Finity, Cryo Health & Beauty, Suggy’s Gym’s Bailey Sugden will defend his ISKA K-1 Pro world title on the FightMaxSFL card, at the Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, against (ADD NAME) on Saturday 11 March.

The undercard also sees one of Sugden’s stablemates, Leicester’s Chace Griffin, opposing Spain’s Marcos Cruz for the vacant ISKA European K-1 57kg title, on what is a stacked, talented card; tickets for the show are available via the hotline 07816 840920 priced at £750 for table of 10 (VIP, food & waitress service), £600 table of 10, £40 (tiered/balcony seats).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @BaileySugden warming up ahead of his world title fight in March.

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