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'Hopefully that nice call-out showed that you don’t have to be a pr*** to get big fights'

Jason Quigley has finally gotten his world-title opportunity, but he has stripped back the emotion while preparing for ‘just another fight’.

Soon-to-be world-title challenger Jason Quigley at a press conference in Dublin.
Soon-to-be world-title challenger Jason Quigley at a press conference in Dublin.
Image: JUSTIN FARRELLY

JUST OVER TWO weeks ago, Jason Quigley got the news he has been working towards for most of his adult life.

The Finn Valley man, a former European amateur champion and World Championship silver medalist for Ireland as an amateur, has been fighting for seven years as a pro. His CV boasts 19 wins — 14 by stoppage — with just a sole blemish.

In his 21st professional outing, Quigley will challenge Demetrius Andrade for the unbeaten American’s middleweight title in Manchester, New Hampshire on 19 November, live on DAZN.

The 30-year-old laughs as he reels off the ghosts of opportunities past: he recently sacrificed a significant fight versus England’s Jack Cullen in pursuit of a shot at Canelo Alvarez which came close but never materialised. He has been perpetually linked to a bout with Mexican star Jaime Munguia but thus far, Golden Boy have kept them apart. Most famously, in 2018, he signed to fight Japanese 160-pound standout Ryota Murata; he picked out a suit and bought his first ever first-class plane ticket ahead of their press conference in Japan only to discover at the 11th hour that the WBA, whose belt was in Murata’s possession, had pulled the rug from under him, insisting that Murata instead face a mandatory challenger.

Next month, Quigley gets his shot. And he’s not going to make a song and dance about it this time, either.

Jason Quigley 06 Quigley speaking to Irish media in Dublin today. Source: JUSTIN FARRELLY

“Over those serious highs and lows”, Quigley smiles, “I think it learned me a lot — both inside and outside of boxing — to kind of just keep living the day, because you can take nothing for granted in boxing.

“It is one of the most up and down sports… But I’m in the perfect stage of my life and of my career to deal with this situation. I’m not the young kid, now, living for the whole excitement of fighting for a world title.

“Of course, inside, I am looking forward to it. But at the end of the day, this is just another fight for me.

Of course, there’s a lot more on the line. But in terms of my outlook and my focus, this is just another fight and I’m training my absolute ass off in the gym to get that ‘W’ (win). And to get that ‘W’ will mean so much more after this fight than in any other fight! So there is obviously bits of excitement there that I’m learning to control, and learning to tunnel-vision and focus on the things that matter: getting to the ring 100%, the best person I can be on the night.

Quigley landed the fight firstly by beating another American, Shane Mosley Jr, in a career-best performance in Las Vegas in May. It was a victory which put him vaguely in line to challenge Andrade, as he picked up a continental version of the Rhode Island native’s world-title belt. But he got it secondly because he asked for it — and extremely politely — during his post-fight interview on DAZN.

“I’m not saying that I’m going to kick your ass,” Quigley told Andrade down the camera lens. “I’ll get in there and put on one hell of a fight with you. I’ve got a belt, you’ve got the main one, give me a crack at that title.”

The long and short of it is that, having once again failed to secure a more lucrative fight of his own against a fellow world champ, all of whom routinely avoid him for their own reasons, Andrade did agree to give Quigley that crack.

“Hopefully that nice call-out showed that you don’t have to be a prick in boxing to get big fights,” Quigley laughs.

That might be true outside of the ring, anyway. Inside it, Quigley will have to be relentlessly mean if he is to unseat the champ and return to Donegal with the goods next month.

“He’s a technical fighter”, Quigley says of the 33-year-old. “He was an unbelievable amateur. He fought in the Olympics. I remember watching him in the Chicago World Championships (2007). He was three or four years older than me so I was just coming onto the Irish team, the senior team. I was watching all the lads boxing and I remember seeing this Demetrius Andrade and I liked his style, he stood out to me and he went on to win the World Championship. Did I ever think I’d be fighting him for a professional world title? No. But we’re here now.

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“I think he’s been avoided because of his style. Demetrius Andrade is high risk, low reward for all these big guys out there. He’s not this so-called fan friendly fighter. He can be very awkward and messy, and he can make fights not very enjoyable to watch to the asses in the seats who want to see blood and knockdowns and all that.

I know that I can bring stuff to the table that are going to upset him, make him see things that he’s not always seen inside the ring. I think he tires a lot in his fights. He might have little confidence in himself and thinks he needs to start fast to get ahead — and then he gets into that comfort zone. So, obviously, I’m going to try and not let him get into that comfort zone.

demetrius-andrade-celebrates-winning Demetrius 'Boo Boo' Andrade. Source: Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland/INPHO

In his corner, Quigley has a man who won his own world title on American soil in 2014 — and indeed became the first Irishman to do so since Jimmy McLarnin 80 years previously — in Andy Lee.

They’ve been working together on an Andrade fight specifically for the past five or so weeks, and whereas trainer Lee was unable to travel to the States for Quigley’s victory over Mosley — or for Tyson Fury’s recent trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder — due to a ‘National Interest Exemption’ visa complication, this should no longer prove an issue when the US lifts its travel restrictions on 8 November.

The impending opening of America’s borders comes as an extra relief to Quigley, however, for the simple fact that “all of Donegal had their flights booked”, he laughs.

“That’s what one thing I’m struggling to control!

“The Irish are going to be there. Anybody I’m talking to over there, as well: they’re saying there are buses coming up from New York, Boston… I’m looking forward to getting into that atmosphere.”

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