Kickboxer Bailey Sugden admitted it wasn’t his night after he was on the receiving end of some controversial refereeing decisions in his narrow defeat to Zakaria Zougarry.
The 20-year-old Suggy’s Gym fighter, from Newark, was fighting at the Glory 52 SuperFight Series in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Going into the fight with emphatic wins at Glory in New York and Rotterdam last year, Sugden promised to be involved in the fight of the night.
After being bundled and pushed to the canvas in the third and final round, a hotly-disputed knock- down was called by the referee, even though Sugden immediately jumped back up.
Shaking his head in frustration, he went straight to work and attempted to land a jumping knee to his opponent, who fell to the canvas, but no count was returned.
The referee’s decision to give the standing count against the Suggy’s Gym 20-year old came in the closing moments of his featherweight contest.
After a closely-contested fight, the bout was awarded to Dutch-Moroccan fighter Zougarry by unanimous decision.
Sugden said he had been up against a worthy opponent, but also lamented the refereeing decisions, which he believes proved costly.
“There’s no doubt Zakaria was at his best tonight and performed very well,” Sugden said.
“Coming back from his only loss at Glory, he was extremely dangerous but I love danger and when we exchanged, he frustrated me as he held me when we started.
“He was quick though. I give him full credit for the win.
“I would be buzzing and delighted to get the chance to do it again and, with him being 23 and me being 20, that is very likely.
“But the referee called it wrong in the third round and we weren’t alone in thinking that.
“That said, tonight just wasn’t my night. I didn’t do what I trained to do — I underperformed and didn’t deliver the game plan we worked on.
“But I will be back, stronger and better than ever, and sooner rather than later.”
'We will come back stronger'
Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden said: “We came to Vegas for a fight and that is what we got.
"We gave the crowd an action-packed three rounds, although we didn’t get the win we promised.
“With the exception of the judges, everyone watching agreed Bailey was very unfortunate and that the unjust count was a deciding factor in the result.
“For us it is always a difficult one to judge at the time as we tend to look at all the areas where we could have done better.
“But one thing is certain, as ever, we will come back stronger — we have to because the only thing we have control over is our performance.
“So it is onwards and upwards for Bailey and for Suggy’s Gym and there’s a huge announcement coming very soon.
“We are confident that with his personality and charisma, not to mention his exciting action-packed fighting style, Newark’s very own BadBoy will have a leading role to play in what is going to be a massive and historic event.”