BY CHRIS MCNULTY
JASON Quigley has given the biggest indication yet that he is gearing up to turn professional.
The Ballybofey man, who won his first Irish senior middleweight title last February and went on to win European gold and World silver medals, was named as the 2013 Donegal News Sports Personality of the Year on Friday night – and he has confirmed that he is edging towards a pro move.
The 22-year old is one of the hottest boxing properties around at the minute.
He has been in no rush to commit himself with ‘tasty’ offers flying into the Quigley household since the World Championships in October.
Two of the offers are lucrative deals from Banner Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, both American based.
Art Pelullo of Banner Promotions is known to serious covet the services of Quigley while Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is one of the biggest set-ups on the globe.
Although undecided, it seems as if he will forego his attempt to make the 2016 Olympics in Rio to pursue a career in the professional ranks.
Tellingly, Quigley mentioned that he has ‘from a very young age’ dreamt of being a professional champion, while ‘the Olympics was a dream of mine because it became a possibility’.
Last February, he defeated Roy Sheahan to win his first Irish senior title, following it up by beating Bogdan Juratoni in Belarus to win the European title and, in Kazakhstan in October, he became the first male Irish boxer to reach a world final, where he was beaten by home boxer Zhanibek Alimkhanuly.
Quigley has won three European titles – the Youths in 2009, the 2012 Under 23s and the Seniors in 2013 – as well as a World senior silver medal. But he admits that the lure of the pro ranks is turning his head to a new chapter.
He said: “I wore the Irish vest well and made history in it. I served my country well as an amateur in the vest. I really would like to go and do that without the vest as a professional.
“Professional boxing excites me. To go to world number 1 in amateur boxing was massive for me. To go to world number 1 in professional boxing would be a dream come true.
“Sometimes you have to take the chance when it’s there. You’re only as good as your last fight – and at the minute I’m up there with the best. I’m hot property now for professional people looking in, but that mightn’t be the way in a while.”
The Irish seniors get underway next month again – but Quigley could be gone from the amateur scene by the time they roll around.
Now back in training with his father and coach, Conor, they’ve been weighing up the options.
“I have to look at what’s best for me,” Quigley said.
“I’ve been looking at past Olympians and what they have done: Kenny Egan didn’t turn pro, but as soon as he finished in Beijing his aim was London, but he missed out; Wayne McCullagh got a silver in Barcelona and went on to become a professional world champion.
“I have to look at what is best for myself, for my family and for my career. You have to take what’s going out there at the minute. It will be what’s best for me.”