After over a year out, Jason Quigley returns with a soul-snatching stoppage in Boston

The Donegal middleweight inflicted a first stoppage defeat on tough Puerto Rican Daniel Rosario.

SATURDAY WAS A year to the day since Jason Quigley underwent surgery on what his doctor described as a ‘one-in-10-million’ hand injury, and the Donegal middleweight wound up taking his woes out on Daniel Rosario’s liver just outside Boston.

The 26-year-old Ballybofey native made his long-anticipated ring return on a Golden Boy on ESPN bill at Marina Bay SportsPlex, Quincy, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and for the most part picked up where he left off 373 days ago: the popular boxer-puncher was drawn into quite the barnburner with Puerto Rican Rosario, but brought the vociferous Irish-majority crowd to its feet with a severe sixth-round stoppage of his teak-tough opponent.

After a year spent agonising over his damaged primary weapon, it was Quigley’s left hand which eventually inflicted a first defeat inside the distance for Rosario, whose pain while writhing on the canvas was conspicuous to the point that it transcended parochial bias: replays of the two fatal knockdowns provoked an amalgamation of cheers and groans from an audience which included The Fighter protagonists Dicky Ecklund and ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward.

A memorable proponent of the same shot, how Ward surely admired Quigley’s venomous finish. Not a particularly happy birthday for Daniel Rosario, who turned 30 only hours before he took two bullets north of the belt.

And it was Rosario who came out red-hot in the opener, showing no regard for his Irish adversary nor his reputation, launching loaded shots and tearing after Quigley from the off.

Quigley – as is his wont – responded in kind, his right hand intermittently finding its target up top but getting more purchase in and around Rosario’s midriff.

He was thieved of a knockdown in the second: a monstrous right-hand counter unleashed by Quigley from the ropes landed flush on Rosario’s kisser, with the 11-3 brawler attempting to return fire before keeling over from the weight of the shot. It was incorrectly ruled a slip by veteran referee Mike Ryan.

Though certainly rusty early, Quigley had managed to land an impressive 36% of his power punches by the start of the third: his hooks and straight right hand were fairly potent, but having settled and found some rhythm, he proceeded to box rather than hammer his way into the fourth.

Rosario gradually drew him into a rather dirty – if still compelling – affair, producing no shortage of dark arts and occasionally seeming to frustrate the Sheffield-based former Irish amateur star, who at one point was awkwardly folded over by a push and took a cheap shot to the temple while his head was almost touching his shoelaces.

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Not dissimilar to his gruelling encounter with Glen Tapia last March, Quigley appeared to tire somewhat at the fight’s turn – though on this occasion such fatigue was hardly shocking. In any case, a second wind was forthcoming almost instantaneously, and the Golden Boy-promoted fighter emerged for the sixth with the bit between his teeth.

Perhaps it was only at this juncture he was truly rid of the ring rust accrued during his lengthy absence, but Quigley reefed Rosario to the body with a renewed fervour, and his assault on Rosario’s midsection eventually took its toll.

The Puerto Rican was left rolling on the canvas from a powerful left hook to the liver, and deserves huge credit for beating the count when it seemed nigh on impossible. He and Quigley resumed hostilities, with the Donegal man returning to the body but recklessly, taking a couple flush in order to dish out a few more, and to no avail as Rosario withstood the onslaught.

Bleeding from the nose and breathing heavily, but cognisant that his foe was far worse off, Quigley showed no shortage of ring IQ in affording himself the space to reload and reassess. A couple of backward steps might have been mistaken for hesitancy were it not for the mean and calculated finish which instantly followed; if the shot which first felled Rosario was vicious, the curtain-caller was borderline murderous.

With a swing of his hips, the Irishman blasted Rosario once more to the liver, and referee Ryan knew better than to administer a count on this occasion.

After a tough night’s work, WBC number 6-ranked Quigley emphatically improves to 14-0(11KOs), while birthday boy Rosario falls to 11-4(10KOs) after suffering his first ever stoppage defeat.

Most importantly, the victor dusted off the cobwebs, and resumes his career with two good hands as well as some extra weaponry forged under new trainer Dominic Ingle.

The freeview broadcast of Quigley-Rosario will be replayed on eir Sport at 7pm this evening.

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