In April 2014, after weeks of speculation, Jason Quigley signed a five-year deal at the offices of Golden Boy Promotions on Wilshire Boulevard in Downtown Los Angeles.
In the company of Oscar De La Hoya, the 10-time world champion who is Golden Boy’s President, the path to the top was laid out for the young Ballybofey man.
It is a blueprint that has gone pretty much to the very letter in the 18 months since he scribbled his name on the A4 page put before him last year.
Quigley – a European gold medallist at Senior, Under-23 and Youth level – had an incredible 32-fight winning steak that was only ended by Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in the World final in 2013 in Kazakhstan, Quigley’s last fight as an amateur boxer.
With eight professional wins to his name, Quigley has been beaten just once in 41 contests, a sequence that stretches back to a win over Chris Blaney from Navan at Stranorlar’s Finn Valley Centre in March 2012.
Quigley has won all eight of his professional fights by way of stoppages. Marchristopher Adkins (6-1) stands in his way on Friday night in Las Vegas as Quigley goes for 9-0.
Untrained eyes have been sceptical about the calibre of opponent put across the ring for Quigley. The middleweight, regarded as one of the brightest prospects in a star-studded Golden Boy stable, is quite content to take the road paved for him by his team.
“My main thing turning pro wasn’t to take my time and not step up too quickly because of the boxing side of it. It was a massive change in life, change in country, weather, people, coaches and gyms,” he says.
“That’s a bigger challenge than anything I’ve had in the ring. My life has done a complete flip around. From Ballybofey to LA – Jesus Christ, explain that to anyone and it’d be hard!
“It’s not as if I’m out here with all the boys or with my family. I’m here on my tod, but I’m here with a focus and an aim to achieve my dreams.
“It gets hard and it is tough, especially if you have a bad day or something crops up and all of a sudden you’ve no-one there to talk to.
“I’ve become a more independent, more evolved person. You learn to deal with stuff and you learn to overcome a lot on your own.”
So far, Quigley has beaten Howard Reece, Fernando Najera, Greg McCoy, Lanny Dardar, Tolutomi Agunbiade, Joshua Snyder, Tom Howard and Michael Faulk. None of them are household names outside of their own households, but Quigley is on the rise up the rungs of the ladder.
Snyder, for instance, once went the distance with former middleweight contender Matt Korobov, who Andy Lee defeated last September.
“There are so many fighters out here and you don’t know what they’re fighting for,” Quigley says.
“I’ve said this before, but one shot can change it all. It’s crazy. They aren’t maybe fighting to become a world champion one day. They might be getting in there for a pay day, the chance to get more money to put a roof over their head for a few months.
“You’ve got to be prepared for that – these kind of boys would do anything to win. Sometimes they’re more dangerous opponents.”
Quigley’s contests against Howard and Faulk were scheduled for six rounds, but were both ended in the second stanza by the former Finn Valley ABC puncher.
Quigley, though, has gone the rounds before. He has previously referenced the time, in 2012, when he went eight rounds of sparring with Nathan Cleverly in Wales.
Competitively, he fought in the World Series of Boxing in December 2011 with the LA Matadors.
His WSB debut saw him defeat Vitali Bandarenka from Belarus on a unanimous decision after five gruelling rounds, while Australian Troy Trevor O’Meley was beaten in the second round.
“I was just a young fella and was never training the way I am now,” Quigley says.
“That was five rounds with a lad who was the European champion as an amateur. If I was thrown into an eight-rounder now it wouldn’t faze me. I can pace myself and I know what it takes to get through the rounds. I’m ready for anything. That’s just the way I prepare.”
His WSB experience means that, as far Fight Faz Inc, the official US records keeper, are concerned, his record as a professional is 10-0, as they regard those bouts as pro contests.
While in Los Angeles four years ago, he had linked up with Mexican trainer Manny Robles, who is now Quigley’s coach in Los Angeles.
Robles and Courage Tshabalala, a former heavyweight contender from South Africa who had a 26-4 record, are the men in Quigley’s corner and can see the potential in their man.
“Quigley is a skilful, good looking white kid who can fight his behind off,” Tshabalala says. “He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
This week, all that is occupying Quigley’s mind is his meeting with Adkins at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, but the dream is there in the distance. His meeting with Adkins brings the curtain down on 2015, his second calendar year as a professional and a win would set him up nicely for 2016, the year the world can expect to hear much more about the man now dubbed ‘El Animal’ in Tinseltown.
“My end goal is to be a world champion, to be undefeated and to be one of the best fighters ever to come out of Ireland,” Quigley says.
“The only way I can do that and achieve those goals are to keep putting in the clinical performances. To go 9-0 this week would round off a great year and then I can start looking at 2016.
“Without a doubt, 2016 is where I’ll be looking to make an impact. 2016 will hopefully be a big year for me. You know, to make an impact at the start of 2016 I have to end well in 2015 so that’s the agenda for me this week.
“I’m lucky to have the team around me who know the plan. These people know exactly what I’ve sacrificed. They are absolutely brilliant people and they look after me as best they can. Everything they do is because they want only the best for me.
“When I get hard times here, I can only imagine what it’d be like if I didn’t have such a good team around me. Golden Boy Promotions and Sheer Sports are absolutely brilliant for me, but they also know that they can make the call and I’ll be ready.”
While attending the meeting of Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux at Madisson Square Garden in New York last month, Quigley was snapped taking a selfie with rapper 50 Cent.
Quigley has been selected by 50 Cent as one of the athletes to promote his new underwear and tightwear clothing range, but the boxer’s eye is on the real business at all times.
“I remember watching Get Rich Or Die Trying and thinking: ‘This boy is fucking unbelievable’,” Quigley says.
“What he has come through in life to be so successful is amazing and now for me to be one of his athletes is just unreal. It does give me a sense of what’s out there, but I need to stay focussed on my own plan. I can’t get caught up in the celebrity life.
“If I have everything in boxing 100 per cent, everything else will fall into place.”
Fight week now and Quigley’s routine is simple. He’s based in Marina Del Rey, just next to Venice Beach, where he gathers his thoughts.
“I mainly just sit back and watch a few films, catch up on tv programmes, just relaxing really doing normal things,” he says.
“When I come in from training, I’d stick on Geordie Shore on MTV, maybe a bit of Entourage.
“It’s quite chilled out where I am. I only live a two-minute walk from the beach so I’d go down and reflect there, have a nice walk on the beach as the sun is setting.
“I just walk along and take it all in: The waves, people running about, some are hectic, others are chilled out and you might have a homeless guy asking for a few quid. There are all sorts of different lifestyles there.”
All the while, he’s got that plan in mind – getting to the top of his game and the next stop is Las Vegas and a meeting with Adkins (6-1).
“Everything’s been going great in camp,” Quigley says.
“I’ve had really top-quality sparring so the camp has been brilliant. I’m ready. Ready for whoever, wherever.”Tags: