A packed-out crowd at The Lady Eastwood Pavilion at Newark Showground came out in force on Friday night to see local favourite and Newark professional boxer Chad Sugden’s HOMECOMING in the English Light Heavyweight Title Fight against the experienced and strong Joel McIntyre.
Chad is coach to so many youngsters at Suggy’s Gym and Newark Amateur Boxing Club at 49 Castlegate and they flocked in their hundreds to support him on Friday 15 July.
Chad started well, taking control of the first four rounds with slick boxing and landing body shots which appeared to hurt Joel and make him back up and hesitate.
“Chad was being urged on by his corner to continue to put on the pressure after landing some eye-catching and hurtful shots,” said head coach Dean Sugden. “Full respect to Joel and his conditioning, it looked as if he would not make it much further and it could possibly be an early night for Chad, but credit where credit is due, Joel made a war of it and dragged a fight out of Chad.”
At the halfway point in the fifth round, they both swapped huge blows as it turned into a brawl with both boxers exchanging heavy artillery. They came in really close in the clinch after a fiery exchange where no clear shots had landed and. when they separated, it was clear there had been an accidental clash of heads and Chad was cut above the eye.
Unfortunately for the Newark boxer, referee Reece Carter signalled the cut had come from a punch, much to the disappointment of Dean who said: “These kinds of things are really unfortunate, because if the contest had been stopped due to an accidental clash of heads it would have gone to score cards and Chad was well ahead at this point on all three judges’ score cards.”
But In true Suggy’s Gym fighting spirit, Chad just shook it off and carried on as normal.
After what had been an incredible week with the early arrival of Chad and Meghan’s baby girl Maggie Nora at 3.41am on the Wednesday morning of fight week, Dean was a little worried it could have an effect later in the fight.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, Chad looked like he took his foot of pedal but maybe Dean’s concern about fatigue after the emotional rollercoaster and lack of sleep was now playing its part on the fight.
Both rounds were really close – despite now fearing Joel was coming back into it, Chad was happy to move and counter but Joel’s experience told him to press and push and as a result he got himself back into the fight.
Going into the next round, Chad was told to apply pressure once again – as we know, the fight game carries no prisoners.
Still ahead on all three score cards, by two points on two and one point on the other, Chad tried to apply that pressure but with 30 seconds to go in the eighth round, he walked onto an incredible right hand from Joel which sent Chad reeling to the canvas for the first time as an amateur and professional boxer.
Although he bravely got to his feet on the count of 8, referee Reece Carter decided that Chad was in no position to continue and with only 30 seconds left in round eight he called a halt to the fight.
Joel was declared the winner and both boxers embraced after what can only be described as a classic. It was a truly gritty back and forth English Title Fight that had a packed arena on its feet and it was just unfortunate Chad didn’t come out on top.
Both camps also commented on what a great fight it was and how they would love to do it again.
“Well done to Joel and his team, he was the better man on the night and came out on top,” said Chad. “I want to thank all the fans who came out to support me – I singled-handedly sold over 600 tickets and without all of those people we wouldn’t have been able to bring this English Title Fight to Newark.
“The noise was electric and something I will never forget. The love and support from everyone in the town was immense and I am just absolutely gutted I couldn’t bring it home. I was tired but no excuses, Joel dug deep and landed a great shot.
“If I could have pulled it off, it would have been an amazing finish to my week, after the surprise early and safe arrival of my baby daughter Maggie Nora who was born in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“I am truly blessed by all the love and support I have received and hope we can continue this journey together. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
“We were as shocked as everyone else in there when Chad got caught clean like that,” added Dean. “Not a shot that he normally gets caught with and one he would normally recover from despite it catching him flush.
“But the ref made the right decision to stop the contest and full respect to Joel for coming through those early rounds and pulling it out of the bag.
“As always Chad showed tons of class in there, not just in skill but in his attitude as well. My job is to help him realise his potential and at 28 he’s got plenty of time to do so. But I am sure of one thing – “No Suggy, No Party” will be chanted and heard once again.”
Photos by Rick Wilks