BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN LOS ANGELES
THE scenery doesn’t particularly bother Jason Quigley.
Based now in Marina Del Rey, a seaside community in Los Angeles, around 12 miles from Downtown LA, the Ballybofey man spends most of his time commuting around the boxing gyms of Angeltown.
The sights and the settings are one thing but when you’ve an ambition to get to the top of the world yourself it’s an entirely different matter.
The offices of the sweet science, like the Rock Gym, the Iron Gym and the PowerHouse Gym (even the names offer a sample of what’s inside), give him a quality of sparring – different faces, opponents and styles that aren’t readily available this side of the Atlantic – designed to make him a champion.
“Getting the experience is so important, which is why I train all over Los Angeles,” he says. “I go to different gyms all the time, looking to spar, work and learn.
“I’m really looking forward to my second fight since my first went so fast. I just fought in mid-July so it’s great to be brought back so soon.
“Getting the pro debut out of the way is somewhat of a relief, but I know I have a lot of work to do.”
The pursuit of becoming a world champion is why he and his father Conor – who has been in his corner from the first evening a bandaged the seven-year old’s hands for a fight against Noel McBride of Annagry, which he won – have swapped The Beeches in Ballybofey for the beaches of California.
Earlier this year they packed up to join up with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions.
His debut fight was in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 12 and it could hardly have gone better – lasting just 82 seconds before referee Jay Nada called a halt to his bout with Howard Reece.
“It was a dream fight and a dream venue,” says Quigley, winner of eleven Irish titles, as well as European golds at youth, under 22 and senior level and a world silver at last year’s World Championships.
“The MGM is where all the top boxers, all the world champions, have boxed.
“For me to get in there for my debut and box like I did, I couldn’t have asked for better. The MGM is like a small town! All the big names from Mayweather to Pacquiao have been there for big title fights.
“I’m still in the background and at the bottom of my ladder. My aim is to be the main event on a show some time. I’ve a long way to go and a lot of hard work, a lot of digging deep.”
He bids this weekend to take his record to 2-0. The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California is next on the list as Quigley fights on the undercard of the IBF welterweight title showdown between Kell Brook and Shawn Porter.
The Finn Valley man says: “I’m really looking forward to that fight. StubHub’s an amazing venue. I was there when Robert Guerrero fought there in June, and Lomachenko.
“Those were wars, so to get to fight there for my second pro fight is great. I’m really excited and putting in the hard work. You know, when you’re fighting on the undercard of Shawn Porter and Kell Brook, two world-class fighters, it can do nothing but help your performance, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m ready and I’m focused.
“It’s another great venue and it’s all down to my management team, Sheer Sports, and my promotional group, Golden Boy. It’s fantastic that now at the start of my professional career that I’m in at a high level.
“Everybody’s put their faith in me, and now it’s time for me to prove to them that I’m worth it. I’ll put the work in and go ahead and achieve my dreams.”
When he was beaten by Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in the 2014 World final in Kazakhstan, the planet had already become aware of Jason Quigley, who had suffered a first defeat in a massive 33 fights.
A nine-month wait until he fought Reece only served to fuel the ambitions.
He’s taken the initial steps on his journey but the intended destination is clear.
“Of course I want to be a World Champion,” he says.
“Every boxer who puts a foot in that ring wants that. But it’s a long way to the top.
“You have to take each fight like it’s a world title fight. If you lose it’s one step back and if you win it’s one step closer, so every fight’s gonna be a world title fight in my eyes. You need to keep going and keep putting on good performances. That’s the way to the top.”
De La Hoya said before the Reece fight that he’d know ‘in the first round’ how fast he’d move Quigley. That the ringside bell hadn’t even gone for the end of that round when Quigley was confirmed the victor perhaps even made De La Hoya raise an eyebrow.
He’s got a special talent on his hands and already the public have been captivated as shown last Friday when Quigley was special guest at the Stub Hub Center for La Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with SJ Earthquakes.
He does it all with a smile – and why wouldn’t he?
He says: “I’m loving every minute of it. I’m buzzing. I’m ready to go.”
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