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A boxing crossroads…

Quigley keen to make up for lost time

By Frank Craig

Jason Quigley will have a new foe to contend with when he steps through the ropes early Friday morning at the Hangar in Costa Mesa, California.

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Original opponent Oscar Cortes is a late pullout and has now been replaced by fellow Mexican Fernando Marin (16-4-3, 12 KOs).

The middleweight scrap will still top the bill in a 10- round contest as the Ballybofey fighter continues his attempts to re-muscle in on the world title picture at that particular weight.

At the same venue back in December Quigley, who was returning to the ring after suffering his first career loss, stopped Abraham Cordero in the third round.

Less than seven weeks later he makes that very same walk once more. A decorated amateur career meant that he was immediately eyed up as a near future world champion the moment he turned pro back in 2014.

But a career threatening hand injury sustained midfight against Glen Tapia in early 2017 threatened to derail those ambitions entirely.

He eventually made a full recovery but looking back, Quigley admits that the momentum lost during that year out had a negative effect on his boxing trajectory.

A change of scenery from the plush west coast of America to the more gritty surroundings of Sheffield in the north of England failed to have the desired effect.

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It was closer to home but it still wasn’t close enough. Quigley references momentum but continuity and routine outside the ring seems like they have had the most telling effect in recent months.

He told the Donegal News: “I’ve been looking to get momentum back into my career ever since the hand injury, moving to Sheffield and then coming back home. I’ve been wanting momentum and haven’t got it until now.

It’s been very stop-start and I haven’t got into a flow. As anyone that is into sport knows, momentum is vital, whether it’s football, boxing or an individual sport. That’s what I’ve been looking for in my career.

I had that when I was an amateur. My best year was in 2013, going from winning the Irish title, getting a European gold and a World silver; one after the other, getting stuck back in.

That’s what’s key for me getting in, keeping it fresh and new and getting out of there ASAP, to keep the ball rolling.

I stay in shape all the time, it doesn’t matter if I have a fight coming up or if it’s Christmas.

In boxing, you need to be ready for the call for a fight date or a fight opportunity. I had a few nights over Christmas in Donegal and had good fun, but I was in the gym every day and stayed in shape.

This shows that I was right to do that. It has given me the opportunity to not regret anything. If I had got a date for the end of January and hadn’t been in the gym, but just taking it easy, I mightn’t have been able to take the fight.

That’s when you can feel like you’ve missed an opportunity and regrets start. Again, it’s momentum. I kept it going over Christmas, trying to improve all the time. That has paid off for me and I’ve got rewarded with a quick turnover.”

Central to Quigley’s new found solace and focus has been Andy Lee. A former middleweight champion himself, the Limerick native has, in blunt enough fashion, impressed upon Quigley the fact that time is very much of the essence now if he is to realise his ambitions of wearing world gold.

He’s no longer a prospect. Quigley turns 29 in May and there is the sense that lost ground is having to be made up.

But if the potential and raw talent that has always been there can be harnessed and channelled in the right direction from here on in, then the Donegal slugger can most definitely still realise his ambition of becoming middleweight champion of the world.

You look at fighters who go and win a world title when they’re 22 or look at fighters who don’t win one until they’re in their 30s. My aim and my goal is to become a world champion.

I’m making up for lost time and I’m getting there. I’ve been a pro now for a good few years. People probably would have predicted that I may be further on, but life has its journey and its hurdles.

At times you have to wait until the time is right. That’s not always easy and not everyone can appreciate that. I’ve seen it in training and I’ve felt it myself, there is a change there and click of things back in place again. I’m excited for what’s to come. Things have been put back into place for me again.

Myself and Andy are keeping a flow going now. Especially with things that we’re working on, the little things we’re improving and tightening up on, this is a perfect opportunity for it. It’s an exciting time for us.”

It’s a new direction but it’s a familiar one. Quigley is a creature of habit. And it’s obvious now to him that those previous moves to the likes of LA and Sheffield unsettled his routine outside of the ring.

He now commutes to and from his training base in Dublin and life is much calmer. That, he says, is making all the difference inside the squared circle when the time does comes to inject a little turbulence into his day.

I’ve been asking myself what has changed and what’s different? The mindset has changed a bit. It’s a butterfly effect. I moved back home to train in Ireland and I’m happier. Training with Andy, I’m learning new things.

I’ve come to a stage in my life and in my career where I know where I’m at. Before, everything was middled around.

I was training here and there and everything was kind of all over the place. I have more structure in my life now. With that structure, I’ve been able to concentrate on what’s important.

I’m excited for what’s to come, but it’s not excitement like it used to be, like a child getting a toy. Now, it’s more a business-type excitement.

I’m at a good stage with a good balance. I understand the emotions better. My life has changed now and I have a good structure, a good foundation and a good base.”


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