This Saturday GLORY Kickboxing makes its long-awaited return to the UK after a 5-year hiatus.
In the co-headline bout, Bailey Sugden the youngest son of one of British kickboxing’s royal families will enter the ring looking to emulate the past achievements of older brother Chad at Glory 5 London.
On that spring night in 2012, a fresh-faced 14-year old would watch as his older sibling of 4-years step in between the ropes and earn a unanimous decision win over Sam Wilson at London’s Excel Arena.
Speaking to MMA Plus the “Bad Boy” went in-depth about the pressure he felt with the prospect of carrying on the family name forward in kickboxing.
“Growing up I felt a lot of pressure to emulate what my family has done. I can remember when Chad fought in London I did sometimes wonder if I would make it.
But now I’ve fought in places like Madison Square Gardens, I’ve fought in front of 15 thousand people and at only 20-years old I’ve done it younger than everyone else did it in my family. So now in a funny way the pressure is not on me, it’s on them [his brothers] to catch me up because I’m the one currently doing it on the biggest stage.
Fighting is in my family’s blood, you’ve got me, Chad and Regis competing against the best in our chosen sports. Chad is currently ripping it up in boxing, then you’ve got Regis fighting in MMA and then you got me doing my thing in kickboxing.”
The transition from the forgotten Sugden to family standard bearer has been nothing short of miraculous for the man affectionately known in some circles as “Triple B”.
This smooth transition has seen the Nottinghamshire native win his first two fights under the Glory banner. Although he would suffer a controversial unanimous decision defeat in his last outing, many would still hail him as one of the leading lights in British kickboxing.
But according to “Triple B” it wasn’t always that way.
“I remember as little as 3-years ago it used to be the “Chad and Regis Show” you know what I mean? But now everyone wants to talk about me. In America, I was shocked how much they were paying attention to me so it feels like I’ve arrived now, that in itself feels like an achievement.
Fast forward to this Saturday’s Glory 54 where Sugden will take on ultra-tough Russian Aleksei Ulianov who stands in the way of the Suggy’s Gym standout breaking into the top-10 of the Featherweight rankings.
Since entering the organization, Ulianov who is a man of little words has faced some of the best the division has to offer in the perennial contender, Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao, and the top-ranked Giga Chikadze.
Despite falling short in those fights the”Bailey has no doubt that the gritty Russain will provide a stern test on the night.
“He’s a very strong Russian Thai-boxer and his boxing for someone from that background is actually pretty good but his style is still pretty straightforward.
He doesn’t mix his combinations like I do, but his straight shots are very good but as soon as someone moves across the line or cuts across the angles he can’t deal with it.
He’s got very good knees and he clinches a lot which is weird because most people clinch when they’re putting pressure on an opponent but he seems to do it when he’s under pressure. So you have to be careful when you’re coming into him. Despite his losing start, he hasn’t really been outmatched so I have to be mindful of what he brings to the table.”
Regardless of the potential dangers, his opponent will pose at the Genting Arena on Saturday evening Sugden believe he has more than enough weapons in his arsenal to hand Aleksei his third straight Glory loss.
“I’m too quick and too skillful for him so as long as follow the gameplan. Don’t get me wrong just look at the guys is fought so far at Glory, he’s fought the best its not like he’s lost against two bums he’s lost to two top guys. Unfortunately for him on Saturday nights his going to loses to another one as well.”