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Jason Quigley saved from himself in gruelling first career defeat

The 28-year-old Ballybofey man showed extraordinary heart but took a battering at the hands of Tureano Johnson.

Jason Quigley’s corner stop the fight after nine rounds.
Jason Quigley’s corner stop the fight after nine rounds.

DONEGAL MIDDLEWEIGHT JASON Quigley has suffered a first career defeat as a professional as he was pulled out on his stool after nine gruelling rounds with Tureano Johnson of The Bahamas.

In what was deemed a snakes-and-ladders clash between solid middleweight operators of different ages, it was the 35-year-old Johnson who climbed the rungs following a dominant, destructive performance over the world-ranked 28-year-old house fighter.

In defeat, Quigley [16-1, 12KOs] proved his courage to be of a different class to most, but in truth he wound up outfought and eventually outclassed by a man most expected him to outbox.

The former European amateur champion and World silver medalist was hurt on several occasions but never touched the canvas.

Defeat derails any chance he had of challenging for a world title in the near future.

Johnson, who took with him to the ring a record of 20-2-1(14KOs), may find himself propelled into direct contention if things fall his way later this year.

The Bahamian came out bull-like at first bell, closing the distance but immediately tasting Quigley’s right hand on a couple of occasions. They were testers more so than bombs, but having immediately found his range, Quigley continued to pot-shot his way into an early lead.

Johnson’s intentions were clear early doors: crowd the Donegal man on the inside and tee off with uppercuts off either hand.

Quigley initially seemed more than content to hang and trade with the physically stronger Central American, jostling for position and taking one to give one back, but Johnson began to truly implement his upper-body strength in the third: the older fighter crunched a series of thudding uppercuts through Quigley’s guard, the Irishman pinned to the ropes.

The middle rounds belonged to Johnson, too, the bookies’ underdog crashing home power shots at will, jarring Quigley’s head backward and making a trifle of the favourite’s face.

In round six, the conspicuously exhausted Ballybofey man had his knees dipped for the first time in 16-and-a-bit pro bouts; Johnson thundered home a pair of left hands which took Quigley to Funky Town, and the latter survived only on fumes and muscle memory as a hellish couple of minutes played out.

The fizz was gone from Quigley’s shots to the point that it was beginning to look like he was fighting underwater. Johnson, meanwhile, continued his march on fast-forward mode, punishing the popular Finn Valley man at every opportunity.

There came a point after round seven where, while the script had been torn up seemingly irretrievably from the Irish standpoint, one could still only marvel at Quigley’s will to survive.

Constantly, he walked through severe punishment, still throwing back in his own right only to nowhere near the same effect as his adversary.

In round nine, Johnson buckled Quigley with a right hand to the solar plexus and it was clear the end was nigh. Again, he somehow survived the Bahamian onslaught. On this occasion, however, he couldn’t survive the inspection of his trainer, Dominic Ingle, who after a thorough study of his fighter and some further consultation, pulled the plug on what was becoming a dangerous beat-down.

Quigley was too shattered to protest even if he wished to, but there was certainly no harm in his being saved from himself.

Ingle’s decision might dictate that his man fights another day, but there’ll be lengthy sessions in front of the drawing board before that day arrives.

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