BY CHRIS MCNULTY
JASON Quigley is on a golden mission in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The Ballybofey man has become the first ever male Irish boxer to go better than bronze at the World Championships thanks to an outstanding display and a comprehensive win over Russian Artem Chebotarev in today’s semi-final.
He has become the first male Irish boxer to reach a World final and his unbeaten record now stands at 33 fights.
“I’m not going to let anybody stop me from doing it,” said the dogged Donegal man.
Quigley will now take on home boxer Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in the middleweight final.
The 22-year old Finn Valley boxer delivered a stunning performance on he big stage, just as his father, Conor, had said he would yesterday.
It was Quigley’s at his bobbing best.
In a cagey first round, Quigley sized up the Russian, keeping him at the width of the arm and chalking off the scores neatly.
Quigley won the first round on a split decision, taking the round on the cards of the Argentine and Puerto Rican judges, with the Danish judge, Lars Brovil, scoring it in favour of Chebotarev.
Quigley took a standing count during the second round, but his reaction was brilliant as a blistering volley that included a left-hander that momentarily stunned the Russian.
Quigley showed in the third stanza that he was up for a scrap, too, as Chebotarev tried in vain to reel in the Ballybofey ace.
But it was Quigley who excelled in the final round, finishing with a quite magnificent last three minutes.
With all the poise of a seasoned swinger on the canvas, Quigley’s stature grew as the contest wore on.
Three times in that final round the French referee, Jean-Robert Lainee, stopped the fight for blood to be removed from Chebotarev’s face.
Quigley said: “I caught him with some lovely heavy shots and his nose wouldn’t stop bleeding.
“I hurt him a few times in that fight.”
Quigley stayed smart and didn’t go for the kill, even when the Russian was in big bother down the final straight of the bout.
He said: “I didn’t panic. That’s experience. That’s learning through the years that if you hurt a man that is when he is at his most dangerous.
“He is going to let them swing from everywhere if you go at him.
“I just kept my composure and kept on him, but I kept on him smartly and picked him off with better shots.”
Quigley danced a confident figure around the ring and it was a mature performance of serious craft around the 20ft square that is his stage.
He said: “We went through our tactics last night. I think I took them off to a tee. We made the move, pick him off as he comes because we knew that he’d come at me.
“I knew I had the speed and the skill to beat him.
“In the last round, they told me to go forward and go at him, which I did.”
It was a historic win for Irish boxing, the first time ever a puncher from this island has ever upgraded a bronze.
Quigley has never come home from a Championships with a bronze medal.
Rarely does he do second best.
He has a phrase that motivates him: ‘Second sucks’.
Tomorrow, he squares up against Kazakhstan’s Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in the final.
Alimkhanuly received a walkover when England’s Anthony Fowler was forced to withdraw due to an injury to his right hand.
For Quigley, the golden nugget is calling again.
He’s three rounds and nine minutes from being on top of the world.