Returning to the UK after losing by a controversial split decision to Alim Nabiev in Azerbaijan, Chad ‘2 Slick’ Sugden says the defeat has left him disappointed but determined to come back stronger than ever in his journey towards dominating the international kickboxing stage.
The Nottingham fighter met the Ukrainian W5 World Champion in Baku on the card of the K-1 World Max Final 4 event, which was streamed live to a worldwide audience.
“I was disappointed with the result but we know you can’t take anything for granted when you’re away from home,” said Chad. “ But rest assured I will be back even stronger and better. The people that matter at K-1 and all the fans thought I’d won; the commentary team said that I will one day become the K-1 Max Champion and I believe that it is my destination.”
Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden said: “After watching the fight on video, there’s no doubt in our minds that Chad was robbed of victory by a combination of factors.
“With the exception of a flash knockdown, when Chad got caught with a shot and his foot slipped as he went to stabilise, round one was all Chad and the second was his most dominant round.
“In the third, Chad’s flush spinning back fist sent his opponent to the floor. This was definitely a clearer and more conclusive knock down than the one in the opening round and should have been a count for the Ukrainian. But much to our surprise no count was given.
“Although Chad was admittedly not at his best on the night, he still did enough to win the fight. He would have taken it if the ref hadn’t missed the third round knock down but in any event the judges should have scored it at worst a draw, which would have meant an extra round.
“The Ukrainian was flagging and struggling with Chad’s hand speed. Taking into account the scoring criteria set out at the pre-fight rules meeting, which stated that any techniques blocked would not score, it is beyond all comprehension how Chad did not get the victory.”
The Suggy’s Gym camp’s opinion was echoed by others at the event, including former K-1 Heavyweight Champion and K-1 World Grand Prix Finalist in 2009 Badr Hari, who was among the spectators in Baku. “Even the K-1 commentators had Chad winning the fight,” added Dean. “And Badr Hari went out of his way to praise Chad’s skills, telling him he was the superior kickboxer on the night. He has now invited Chad to train at his gym in Amsterdam, to build on what he described as ‘a great foundation for a very bright future’.
“In the meantime, we have to put the events of Sunday down to valuable experience and move on. What doesn’t break us makes us stronger and more dangerous; Chad will be back with a vengeance, make no mistake.”