Paddy and Aine Hannigan and their children pictured with Jason Quigley on Wednesday night.
Jason Quigley is not embarrassed to admit that life in the professional world of boxing can be a tough and lonely place.
His progress in the ring since moving to LA has gone according to plan and two months ago, he claimed his first big professional win, winning the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) middleweight title.
On Wednesday night, with his title belt slung over his shoulder, Quigley was happy to be back among more familiar surroundings, and among those who mean so much to the 26-year-old.
It’s Quigley’s first time home since that memorable May victory over Glenn Tapia. The Ballybofey man has been recuperating from a serious hand injury sustained early in that fight and ongoing treatment meant his return home had to be put on hold.
He still sports a heavy support on his injured right hand, but the broad smile which rarely left his face all evening, suggested that all is good.
“This means everything to me,” he said.
“This is what makes it so special.”
Jason had been welcomed into the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar by the MC for the night, Patsy McGonigle. The boxer later revealed how Patsy has been offering advice and support since Quigley’s move to the US. Even when he was first getting into the sport as a young child, McGonigle had been there for him.
There were others there too who have played no small part in Jason’s flourishing career.
Peter O’Donnell of the Donegal County Boxing Board, has been a friend and mentor to Jason for some time and he was among the guest speakers at Wednesday night’s event.
Derry’s Charlie Nash, a British and European title holder in his time, was also there as was fellow Derryman Paul McCloskey. Former IBF World Champion, Glenn McCrory, now a boxing pundit.
The big crowd who turned out to welcome Quigley to the Twin Towns included representatives of a host of boxing clubs from around the north west.
Many of the young children present will have also been inspired by Quigley’s story and the boxer had his own words of advice for them. He told them to enjoy the sports the play and to try out as many different sports as they can so that they can find something they enjoy.
Success in sport and in life, can be achieved with the right attitude, drive and a will to win.
“If you want something in life,” Quigley said.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it.”