Jason Quigley is desperate to make his mark in what he predicts will be remembered as the golden era of Irish professional boxing.
The Donegal middleweight has won all 11 of his professional contests to date but faces another step up in class when he faces experienced Puerto Rican Jorge Melendez at California’s Forum tonight. His performances so far have firmly established him as one of the hottest prospects in world boxing and Quigley says he is at the vanguard of a wider boxing movement in Ireland.
He said: “The talent we have at the moment is unbelievable. This is the new era for Irish professional boxing.
“Everything goes in circles and amateur boxing had its success but now it has moved over into the pros. There was a time when we had the likes of Barry McGuigan and Wayne McCullough but when you look at Irish boxing now I don’t think we have ever had a time with this kind of talent all coming through at one stage.
“As well as me, there’s Carl Frampton and Andy Lee then the likes of Michael Conlan who has just turned professional, and also Katie Taylor.
“This is serious talent coming out of such a small country. We are going to go out there and make a lot of noise.”
Quigley, a former amateur stand-out, decided against staying amateur to compete at the Rio Olympics and instead turned professional with Golden Boy Promotions in 2014 and based himself in Los Angeles. He watched on in horror as the likes of Conlan were denied Olympic success due to bizarre judging decisions, but says amateur boxing’s faults have become the professional code’s gain.
He added: “Some of the decisions are very discouraging.
“People only see these decisions at the Olympics every four years but they happen a lot. Why stay amateur when you have to put up with that? But if it means that people like Mick Conlan are now doing their thing as a pro, then the movement will only grow stronger.”
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