GLORY Kickboxing return to the UK for the first time in five years with GLORY 54, an event which will also mark the British homecoming of Bailey Sugden, who believes he has since become one of the world’s elite kickboxers.
“Bad Boy” Bailey Sugden faces Aleksei Ulianov on June 2 at the Genting Arena, Birmingham, with Ulianov a late-stand in for Anvar Boynazarov.
The fight features on the main card, which UK fans can watch on GLORY InPlayer.
20-year-old Sugden — ranked No.12 in GLORYs featherweight division — is looking to rebound following his first GLORY defeat at the hands of Zakaria Zouggary.
The Suggy’s Gym fighter has since promised to return ‘stronger and better than ever’, and he has a chance to cast away the shadows of GLORY 52 against No.10 ranked Ulianov.
Bailey Sugden spoke to DreySports ahead GLORY 54: Birmingham to answer a few questions.
The last time you fought in the UK was the Road to GLORY tournament which led to you signing with the promotion. How would you assess your progress since then?
“My progress since then has been phenomenal, I’ve become one of the world’s elite fighters.”
Not only is it a return for you, but this is GLORY’s first UK event in five years. Do you think they’ve done a good job promoting their return? It seems to be flying under the radar a little bit.
“I think they could [have] started promoting sooner but otherwise they have done a great job I’ve had a lot of publicity building up to this fight and rightfully so as the UK No.1 kickboxer.”
Talk to me about the change in opponent. You were originally scheduled to fight Anvar Boynazarov, Now it’s Aleksei Ulianov who has not won in GLORY. Are there frustrations on your part for the downgrade in opponent?
“No I think it would [have] been great to beat Boynazarov but I’m still fighting a high ranking opponent in Ulianov.”
How have things been since the loss to Double Z. It was a frustrating night for you, but a learning experience also. Now the dust has settled, what’s your honest assessment of that fight?
“Well we didn’t perform to our best that night but Double Z did, but was still a close fight so it just shows where I’m at even when I’m not on my A-game.”
How do you feel that loss has affected your journey towards your goal of being world champion. Has it had a detrimental effect?
“I honestly don’t think it changes a thing because we fight so regularly it won’t slow me down to getting my belt.”
There are talks that GLORY want to do 4 shows over the next 18 months in the UK. How do you think you fit into their plans?
“Well obviously I’m a big ticket seller and the poster boy for the uk so we will see what GLORY want to do with me.”
If they are to come back, do you have a dream opponent who you would like to fight on British soil?
“The dream opponent on home soil me vs the champ Robin van Roosmalen or whoever is the champ at the time.”
Bailey Sugden photo credit: GLORY Sports International