Newark's Chad Sugden proves he is no stranger to pressure fights as vacant British title looms
Former professional kickboxer Chad Sugden faces one of his biggest tests yet on August 22 as he takes on Birmingham’s unbeaten and towering Shakan Pitters for the vacant British title.
Sugden will compete for the Lonsdale belt live on Channel 5.
The Newark fighter, who hails from one of the most renowned combat families in the country, said his previous experiences in kickboxing would help him to one day reach European and world titles in boxing.
The 26-year-old said: “My Dad Dean was a world kickboxing champion and I was taking classes in both kickboxing and boxing from the age of five.
“My brother Regis is an unbeaten pro welter and my younger brother Bailey is heavily involved in K1, and competes in Glory — we’re a proper fighting family.”
Sugden has been involved in combat sports since the age of eight and earned his British title shot after just 65 pro rounds and 13 fights (one draw, one loss).
He said: “I had my first amateur boxing bout at just 11 and pursued both sports alongside each other during my teens, but I always loved boxing more.
“That’s what I watched on the telly and my idols were boxers as opposed to martial artists.
“Most of my wins in kickboxing were down to my hands.
“I always sparred pro boxers, to keep my hands sharp.
“I had 20-odd amateur fights, got beat in a national junior final and won the Senior Midland ABAs.
“At 17, I didn’t think I was quite ready to box professionally, but I accepted a pro kickboxing contract.
“When the ABA got wind that I was fighting for money they revoked my amateur boxing card.”
Combining fists and feet, Sugden won an ISKA world title, starred in the US, Middle East, Asia and Europe as he scored five figure purses.
“I got used to doing all the press conferences and fighting away from home as an underdog, before huge, fanatical audiences — all experiences that transfer over,” he said.
“But I always knew professional boxing was where I wanted to go. The exposure was that much greater.
“I had been struggling for a bit with a stress fracture at the bottom of my spine and all the kicking wasn’t helping it.
“At 21, I finally took the plunge.”
After converting to boxing four years ago, Sugden acclimatized with ten fights against predominantly imported journeymen but has sizzled since stepping up in competition over the past eight months.
He now has the chance to announce himself to the nation, live on Channel 5.
“I’m an old school, all round operator; a slick, aggressive counter puncher who moves well. I fight every fight differently,” he said.
“I bring a presence to the ring. I’m very strong. I’m not the biggest knockout puncher but I’ve stopped a few with body shots.
“I definitely want to defend the belt three times then move on.
“I have aspirations of European and world titles. The British light-heavyweight scene is so strong at the minute, if you’re a player here, you’re a player at world level.”