The month of March sees five well-known Irishmen take the stage: Andy Lee, Gary O’Sullivan, John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Jason Quigley. All of them are at various stages of progress, with Lee waning, O’Sullivan peaking at the British level but still in his prime, Nevin and Barnes being in the early stages of their careers, and Quigley moving quickly to the point of nearing contendership. Quigley and Nevin were the two clearest choices to spotlight, but Quigley deserves the nod since his competition and ability look a notch above so far.
His amateur background is what really brought him into the limelight. He became the first Irish fighter to win a silver medal at the AIBA World Amateur Boxing Championships in 2013 and took home gold at the European Championships the same year. Quigley would have likely gained entrance into the 2016 Summer Games had he chosen to pursue that path, but the professional game and its big money called louder than a potential podium stand.
After a brief stint in the growing World Series of Boxing in which he went 2-0, scoring one TKO, Quigley signed on the dotted line with Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions. The fair-haired middleweight has been seen on his promotional banner’s cards on the West Coast ever since and has caught the fans’ attention every step of the way, scoring stoppage wins in all but two of his contests.
Quigley’s most recent encounter was a scheduled 10-rounder with experienced Puerto Rican banger, Jorge Melendez, 30-7-1, with 28 kayos, at the time. Melendez came out swinging, chopping down a right in Quigley’s direction to start the match. From their he assumed the role of aggressor and the Irishman obliged—Quigley knowing full-well that he can box if he has to. A little bit of infighting around the 2:00 mark saw Quigley land several right-hand body shots, of which he followed up with a short, looping punch around Melendez’s guard. The shot looked unassuming but was able to put the Puerto Rican on the seat of his pants. Melendez got up without too much issue.
Quigley, smelling blood, followed up by moving his hands, landing ambidextrously. Eventually Melendez couldn’t withstand the punishment and went down once more. This time he arose on unsteady legs, moved forward after beating the 10-count tick-off, and then was knocked down by the first right hand Quigley threw. Again the wobbly brawler was allowed to continue, but the referee had seen enough when Jason backed Melendez to the ropes and fired fifteen or so unanswered strikes.
Now the challenge is Glen Tapia, a fun scrapper who has already seen better days. It poses a slight step up, but nothing Quigley can’t handle.
Jason Robert Quigley told the BBC recently that, “I’m in this sport to become multiple world champion and make as much money as I can.” If the marketing improves (we all know the Irish turn out in bigger droves out East) and he continues his upward ascension, that goals seems within reach.