King of the
continent

King of the 
continent
It was only when Jason Quigley rolled back into the Twin Towns with a European Middleweight medal dangling around his neck in June he fully understood the magnitude of his achievement.

It was only when Jason Quigley rolled back into the Twin Towns with a European Middleweight medal dangling around his neck in June he fully understood the magnitude of his achievement.

The 22-year-old’s homecoming took place at Finn Valley Club in Stranorlar, the place were Quigley had learned the sport under the watchful and supportive eye of his father and coach Conor.

A red-tape wrangle meant that Conor Quigley couldn’t make the trip to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, to see his son’s finest hour to date. But they remained in constant contact.

“Dad’s visa didn’t come through as there was a mistake in the spelling or something like that for the Europeans in Belarus,” Jason Quigley said this week.

“But everything went right and you have the likes of Skype and Viber and the likes so he’s always there and he’s always looking up the other boxers.”

The Quigley partnerships has developed into one of the most potent pairings in sport.

“The relationship me and my father have is a very special relationship and nobody knows me better than my father,” Jason Quigley added.

“Maybe sometimes when I’m a bit fatigued in training of if I’m just not up for it, he knows exactly when to come in. He knows the right times when to go away to camps and what to do to progress and to improve my boxing ability.

“But it’s kinda of a brother relationship as well because my father is a young man. I’m an adult now myself.

“We have plenty of arguments! Dad’s something going to thank this is right and I’m going to think that’s right and that’s where the complications come in.

From a young age Dad used to send me away to, say Wales for two weeks, where I trained with the likes of Lee Selby, the current Commonwealth champion, and Gary Buckland, Joe Calzaghe and Nathan Cleverly.

“Dad’s been sending me away because he knew it was something that had to be done. He couldn’t be holding my hand all of the time.

Father and son used to share the couch at Ard McCool in Stranorlar and then the Beeches in Ballybofey to watch boxing.

Jason Quigley’s childhood idol was a Mexican named Marco Antonio Barrera, who defeated an previously undefeated Prince Naseem Hamed at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“He was a world class Mexican and a gentleman inside and outside of the ring,” Quigley said.

“He was also a lawyer outside of boxing. That might’ve edged him toward being an idol of mine.”

Quigley is of a similar composition himself. His skilful, technical abilities make him perfect for the amateur game but there’s also an in-built capability to “mix it” - although only if the need is to arise.

But outside as well as inside, Quigley is an intelligent and grounded individual who lives in the real world.

A former head boy at St Columba’s in Stranorlar he left school for boxing at 16 but made his mind up to return to complete his secondary education.

“You have to be realistic,” he continued. “The life of a boxer can end any day of the week.

“You can go out and break a hand or you could end a boxer’s career. You have to have something outside of boxing as well.

“ I went back to school and realised I’m going to need something else other than boxing. I knew deep down that I didn’t feel secure.

“ I didn’t go onto university because at the time there were a lot of championships coming up in boxing.

“I really wanted to give it a crack. Boxing is a young man’s game. Your career could be over by the age of 30 and there’s plenty of time for a few years study then.”

Quigley’s stock has been recognised of late on a broader scale. Last month he was named as one of 12 - and the only Irish sportsperson - Sky Sports scholarships.

The scholarship offers financial and developmental support tailored to the each athlete’s specific requirements covering areas such as training, competition, nutrition and media.

“To be part of the Sky sports scholarships is a massive confidence booster, not only to be part of Sky but also to see the past scholars - people like Katie Taylor,” Quigley added.

“It’s absolutely brilliant to get it and you can see just how far a scholarship took her. I’m amazing and hopefully I can follow the same footsteps as her.”

Quigley’s head, of course, hits the pillow every night with thoughts of becoming a professional. But that’s the long term ambition, with the short to medium term goal illuminating Taylor’s performance in London 2012.

“Some people have desires and a lot of people have dreams of becoming a World Professional Champion,” Quigley said of the future.

“That’s definitely a dream for me. Since a young age I was watching boxing with my father - it was all that was on the TV, the professional boxing.

“My main goal in Rio 2016 and that’s the one I’m aiming for and gunning for at the minute.”

Next up for Quigley is the World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Irish team has already made the journey and are currently undertaking a training camp.

The draw will take place on Sunday week, October 13, with the competition starting the day afterwards.

Quigley, as ever, will be cheered on by his followers in the Twin Towns and how he’d love to roll into the Finn Valley Centre with another medal.

“The support is absolutely amazing, especially in my local area where everyone is coming up to me what’s next and how I got on recently,” he said.

“It’s great to see the support. It was really when I came back from the Europeans I realised. When I come back and you heard the stories that people are on about and the buzz everyone had waiting on my next fight and seeing me on the TV and all. It’s great.”