Sunday 29 June saw yet another Suggy’s Gym fighter step onto the world stage, as Regis ‘The First’ Sugden followed in the footsteps of older brother Chad when he took on Ilias Bulaid in a world title eliminator on the card of Enfusion Live #19 in Essex.
Previously unbeaten in his nine professional outings, 18 year-old Regis joined fighters from 10 different countries all eager to showcase their skills at an event that was broadcast live on the boxing world’s favourite channel, BOXNATION.
And despite losing narrowly on points to his Moroccan opponent, who now trains and fights out of Holland, Regis’s performance in what was described by many of those present as the most exciting fight of the night did not disappoint.
On paper it looked like a tough challenge for Regis, up against a fighter who has destroyed over 40 of his opponents inside the scheduled distance. But the Suggy’s Gym camp was still confident of his ability to cause an upset, even though Regis was fighting for the first time under Enfusion rules, which allow trips and throws as well as all the normal K-1 style techniques.
The fight was matched at 66kg over three rounds of three minutes. Coming out of the corners for the first, both Regis and Ilias hesitated for a split second but were soon right at it. Countering the blistering speed and power of the Moroccan, Regis responded with superb hand combinations and his trademark spinning kick. The round was nip and tuck, with Regis dominating the boxing and Ilias the kicks and knees.
At the end of the round the Suggy’s Gym corner readjusted its game plan and, going out for round two, Regis tripped and threw his opponent on several occasions, landing some fast hands and very accurate low kicks.
With Regis missing some of his usual spark, it was all even at the start of the final round. As Ilias piled on the pressure, Regis was caught with some tremendous knees and kicks but continued to press and return, rocking Ilias and standing toe to toe exchanging techniques with his opponent right up to the final bell.
“He was strong and quick, exactly what we expected,” said Regis. “But although I really enjoyed the fight and was having some successes, I couldn’t capitalise on my good work as I didn’t feel my usual self. No excuses but when I fight I normally have boundless energy and strength.
“Not many people get the chance to be part of making history though, so being on the main card of the first kickboxing show televised live on BOXNATION was a fantastic experience for me. And most of the other fighters were in their mid to late 20s, while I am still only 18 and just at the beginning of my journey.”
In the corner for Regis on the night, older brother and K-1 superstar Chad ‘2 Slick’ Sugden and the brothers’ coach and father Dean Sugden agreed that it was a very close fight. “Ilias was good; Regis needed to be on his A-game to beat him and on this occasion he wasn’t,” said Chad. “According to Enfusion, Ilias is unbeatable – I don’t think so but he won this one so credit where credit is due.”
“This wasn’t the performance we’re used to seeing from Regis,” added Dean. “But sometimes a loss is important in the development of a fighter and we’ll learn more from this than from a win. I’m confident that after we’ve dissected this loss, we’ll come back stronger than ever.
“Regis has some massive news in the offing but in the meantime he’s already back in the gym, preparing for his next challenge.”