On Saturday night, GLORY veteran Chad Sugden will challenge Michael Wakeling for the IKF 75kg title in the feature bout of The Main Event from the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
Chad '2Slick' Sugden hails from the town of Newark in the midlands of England and fights out of Suggy's Gym, training under his father and former WKA Light Middleweight World Champion Dean Sugden. Chad is the oldest of three brothers, with 19-year old Regis Sugden and 17-year old Bailey Sugden also following their father's footsteps into the world of combat sports.
"We've all been training since we were five" Chad reveals, "it started off with hitting the pads, hitting the bag and then I realised I had a bit of a knack for it so I kept at it." Besides growing up with a former world champion as a father, what else does Chad think has contributed to the constant rise of him and his brothers? "We're all good students - we learn, we listen and since we were young, we would never shy away from a challenge. "
Although the bulk of Chad's training is completed under the tutelage of his Dad at the family gym, he has also diversified his training with trips to the legendary Hemmers gym in Holland and with the newly formed 4th Dimension MMA gym in Nottingham. He is willing to train with mixed martial artists, but as for competing in MMA itself? It doesn't seem likely. "It's not really my style" Chad reveals, "I can kickbox with the best, I can box with the best and I want to prove it. Never say never, but it's not really for me".
Whilst Chad has no intentions of following his younger brother Regis into a mixed martial arts bout any time soon, he did not rule out the possibility of returning to the sport of boxing. "It's possible" he states, "I want to enjoy what I'm doing, but I also need to stay busy. This is what I do for a living so if I'm not staying busy, I'm not making money. It all depends on what I'm doing in the future, but for now I want to secure my legacy under K-1/Glory rules."
For many kickboxing fans around the world, Chad's decision to decline GLORY’s offer to fight Karate extraordinaire Raymond Daniels in favour of a bout here in the UK may have come across as a little strange. Understandably so to, as a match with the aforementioned Daniels would have provided Sugden with exposure and an enormous opportunity to prove himself on kickboxing's biggest stage against a highly ranked opponent. The bout may have even had title implications, however before Sugden continues his ascension in the GLORY Welterweight division, he has some unfinished business to attend to.
On Saturday night, the ISKA 72.5kg champ will step-up in weight to fight Enfusion and ISKA 75kg champion Michael Wakeling. Michael and his brother, former GLORY competitor Stephen Wakeling have dominated the UK Muay Thai circuit for years, with Michael remaining unbeaten for over a decade. Whilst Sugden has confidence that his style, skills and specifically his boxing angles with get the upper hand come fight night, even he recognises the steep challenge ahead, admitting that "on paper its a 50/50 fight".
But why is this bout so important you may ask? "It's a massive fight, it's been in the works since November and it's one people in the UK have wanted to see for a while now" Chad explains, "I come from a kickboxing background and Michael is a thai boxer, so it's kickboxing vs. Muay Thai. I'm unbeaten in the UK and Michael hasn't lost in over ten years, but it's time for someone new to wear the crown."
You see, this is far more than just a IKF title fight. It's a stylistic clash for the ages, with the winner conceivably earning the unofficial title as the pound-for-pound best striker in the whole of the UK.
Chad acknowledges the bout with Wakeling on Saturday provides a steep challenge, but he does still have his eye on the previously proposed GLORY bout with Raymond Daniels. "I'd fight him tomorrow" Chad says confidently "I don't need anymore experience. I've had over one-hundred amateur fights and that's not even including my boxing bouts. I've fought all over the world and at this weight class I'm great. I can't wait to be up there mixing it with the likes of Valtellini and Holzken and I definitely think I can beat them both too."
Considering Chad only turned 21-years old last month, it's remarkable that he is already this accomplished within the world of kickboxing, but does the future hold for the man known as '2Slick'? "I'm looking to get my hands on that IKF world title, being ranked at number one in the UK at two different weight classes and then I'm coming for the Glory title. I mean, who wouldn't want it?"