“The question is, is Takeru ready to take on the biggest and best challenge of his career?” Bailey Sugden, Tokyo, Japan, March 2023.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, on the other side of the world, Tokyo, Japan to be precise, Nottinghamshire’s ISKA World super lightweight kickboxing champion, Bailey Sugden, was going face-to-face with his next opponent, the legendary Japanese fighter, Takeru Segawa, for the lightweight strap.
The pair, suited and booted accordingly, were involved in an hour-long press conference, followed by the customary, face-to-face of the two combatants ahead of their upcoming collision, on the MTGP Impact show, in Paris, France, on 24 June.
Takeru, a fighter classed as being a generational talent who, alongside his last opponent, is one of the greatest kickboxers of the modern era – not that the Japanese fighters’ statistics fazed Nottingham’s own, British Bulldog, far from it.
Sugden goes into this, one of the biggest fights of his career, as the reigning, ISKA super lightweight champion, and a 15(3)-6 (1 n/c) record, meanwhile, his opponent in France, is a three-weight world champion with an impressive record of 41(24)-3(1) over a career spanning fifteen years.
Putting into context the class of Takeru, the 31-year-old fighter won the super bantamweight (2-15), featherweight (2016) and super featherweight (2018) world championships, has also been involved in the 2017, 2019, and 2021 Fight of the Year, and was the 2018 Fighter of the Year.
Takeru’s last outing, albeit a unanimous decision defeat, was the dream fight with his unbeaten compatriot, Tenshin Nasukawa, in June of last year.
To Sugden, all of that, although respected for what has been achieved, goes out the window come fight night and, at the press conference in Japan, once the pleasantries had been surpassed, the British Bulldog went on to say –
“I’m very excited to be here and I’m really looking forward to showing you guys, and also Takeru, that the guys in Europe are the best fighters in the world, and that we don’t just stick in one place and fight only in Japan, we fight all over the place.
“So, I’m excited to put on a good show for you guys, and show him, what the British Bulldog is all about.”
Last time out, Sugden would be seen to defeat the Spaniard, Pedro Ruiz, on the FIGHT MAX Superstar Fight League show, in nearby Grantham, on 11 March this year, winning via unanimous decision.
Since debuting back in 2015, Sugden has fought abroad on a number of occasions, with contests in America, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, on his resume, the last of which, in the Czech Republic, being the last of his six losses, to Vaclav Sivak, in February 2021.
WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE HERE
At the press conference, Sugden added..
“My impression of Takeru is, he’s a great fighter, but anyone can look great staying in one place and fighting the same people, for so long. I’ve been all over the world, I’ve fought everywhere in the world at 19 years of age, and now, at 25, I’m ready to take on bigger and better challenges, but, the question is, is Takeru ready to take on the biggest and best challenge of his career?”
The point in question from Sugden there, is towards Takeru’s record. Albeit a great one, and his success really does speak for itself, all bar two of his professional contests have been in Japan, with the other two, in the opening throes of his career, taking place in Thailand.
Even Sugden’s fellow Brit, Jamie Whelan, travelled to Japan, losing via unanimous, back in November 2016, in the K-1 World GP semi-finals.
Sugden though, delighted in his message, not only to Takeru’s fans, but fans of the sport as a whole, when he concluded in saying –
“My message to the fans is, look forward to the 24 June, there’s going to be fireworks. He says he’s coming to fight and, if you watch any of my fights, you know I come to fight. So, look forward to a good fight, and an exciting knockout from me.”
Contesting the ISKA World lightweight title, Bailey Sugden is scheduled to face Takeru Segawa, under ISKA K-1 rules, at the Zenith Arena, in Paris, France, on 24 June 2023, contact Bailey or Dean Sugden direct to reserve/order tickets.
Keep up-to-date with all things Bailey Sugden via his Facebook – Image courtesy of Paul Hennessy.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @PaulHennessy Sagawa and Sugden pose ahead of their June bout in Paris.