Jason Quigley has penned another chapter of history by becoming the first ever Irishman to reach an AIBA World Boxing Championships final.
The Ballybofey native won his middleweight semi-final this morning against Russia’s Artem Chebotarev and will now take on local fighter Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Saturday morning.
A silver medal is the worst case scenario for the current European middleweight champion but Quigley will be gunning for gold after another hugely impressive bout.
The 22-year-old won out against 2010 European champion Chebotarev on a scoreline of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 to seal his 32nd successive win since joining the middleweight division only 18 months ago.
The Finn Valley ABC boxer, competing in his first World Championships, was in control throughout, with the closest round being the first, which Quigley won on the scorecard of two of the three judges.
There was a potential sticky moment in the second when Quigley was given a standing count despite the fact he only stumbled after a slight tangling of legs. It mattered not though as he was awarded the round on all three scorecards.
Quigley continued to pick off his opponent at will and the referee twice called a time out to check on a cut to Cheboratev’s nose. It was another competent triumph for Quigley, who is joined in Kazakhstan by his father and coach Conor.
“We went through our tactics last night and we pulled them off to a tee today,” Jason Quigley said. “I picked him off as he came at me. I knew I had the speed and the skill to beat him.
“In the last round they told me to go forward and go at him, which I did and I caught him with some lovely, heavy shots and his nose started bleeding.
“There was definitely a few times I hurt him in that fight. I didn’t panic and I think that’s experience and learning through the years that when you hurt a man that’s when he is at his most dangerous. I kept my composure and kept on him and picked him off with better shots.
No one is going to stop me doing it.”
Alimkhanuly won the gold medal at the 2013 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships after defeating Navruz Jafoev of Tajikistan. The Kazakh will go into the final with three days’ rest compared to Quigley’s one having enjoyed a walkover semi-final victory after Britain’s Anthony Fowler.
The Liverpudlian, who is a cousin of former Liverpool and England striker Robbie, was forced to withdraw before today’s semi-final due to a swollen hand.
Quigley knew this morning before his semi-final that he had at least matched Ireland’s best ever performance at the World Championship - bronze won by Tommy Corr (Munich 1982) Michael Carruth (Moscow 1989), Damaen Kelly (Tampere 1991), Stephen Kirk (Budapest 1997), James Moore (Belfast 2001) and John Joe Nevin (Milan 2009 and Baku 2011).
Joe Ward has joined that privileged group and the Westmeath native takes on Cuba’s world champion Julio Cesar De La Cruz Peraza this afternoon, Friday, at 3pm.
Quigley’s final will be shown live on RTÉ One tomorrow morning, Saturday, with the bout expected to take place from 10-11am.