Donegal boxing champion Jason Quigley has been advised by one of the legends of Donegal boxing, Paddy Doherty, not to turn professional.
Doherty, a double national champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, was responding last night to growing speculation that the 23-year-old Finn Valley ABC champion was about to join the ranks of the professional game.
Speculation has been rife ever since Quigley won a silver medal at the World Boxing Championship back in October in Kazakhstan, that the stylish middleweight would turn professional.
That speculation was further fuelled earlier this week when he did not register to defend the Elite National Middleweight title he won for the first time last Spring. The deadline for registration for the National Elite Boxing Championships was 6 pm on Tuesday.
“My advice to him is not to turn professional. That was the advice I gave him when we spoke on the matter. Professional boxing is a different game altogether to amateur boxing,” said Doherty, who turned professional in 1971, shortly after capturing a second National Senior title and winning a bronze medal the 1971 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.
“I think he should remain amateur and set his sights on a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The Pro game is a tough game as I know only too well from experience.
“I had 16 pro fights, I won 14 of them. The two I lost were down to cut eyes and I can tell you I made no money from professional boxing. I fought on the Mohammed Ali versus Al Blue Lewis bill in Croke Park in 1972. I got £400 for the fight and I left Croke Park that night with £100 when everyone got their cut.
“It is a big decision for Jason and I wish him well if he decides to go. But even at this late hour my advice would be to stay amateur and give Rio a right good rattle,” added Doherty, who also felt the fact that Quigley did not register for the Nationals was a clear sign that he had his mind made up and was going Pro.
Quigley, who is currently in Galway sparring with local professional, Michael Sweeney, was making no comment on the overnight speculation when contacted by the Democrat yesterday morning.
However, on the night of his homecoming from the World Championships in October, Jason told the Democrat that he was seriously considering his options.
“My first ever ambition was to be a world professional champion, ever since I was a young fella,” he said.
“That’s what is giving me a buzz at the minute and that is what I am looking forward to, to be honest.”
Jason, who has won national titles at all age levels right up to senior and has captured European gold right up to U-23 level, is one of the hottest young boxers in European boxing.
It is understood that he has been flooded by offers to turn professional since winning silver at the World Championships. However, the Democrat has learned that he is considering offers from two top US promoters.
One of the offers he is considering is believed to be from GreenBlood Boxing in Philadelphia - promoters, as the name suggests, with a strong Irish association. GreenBlood already have London Olympic silver medal winner John Joe Nevin on their books. Nevin signed a professional contract with GreenBlood last October.
The prospect of the county’s and Ireland’s top boxer departing the amateur ranks was greeted with mixed feelings from Peter O’Donnell, President of the Donegal Boxing County Board.
“We are sorry to lose him,” Peter said.
“Jason was marked down for a very bright amateur future. But we understand he has to look after himself and we wish him well whatever decision he makes. We will be with him all the way on the decision.”
The Democrat has learned that an announcement on Jason’s future is imminent and could, in fact, be made in a matter of days.