Jason Quigley [16(12)-1(1)] is willing to make big changes as he seeks to reboot his boxing career but one thing that does not need altering is his attitude.
The Donegal middleweight lost for the first time back in July, being stopped in the ninth round by Tureano Johnson, and is currently engaged in some soul searching.
Offering a viewpoint rarely heard from boxers, Quigley describes how he has become somewhat detatched from boxing in what would seem to be a positive way.
The fire still burns, he assures, but Quigley can boast a separate identity away from boxing and believes this mature approach can help him rebuild towards world titles following the apparently devastating loss to Johnson.
In a wide-ranging interview with Irish-Boxing.com over the weekend, Quigley explained how “in my life, over the last few years, things have just become very balanced.”
“I’ve become very happy in my life. Before, boxing was my reason to be happy – if I went away and won and did well, that was my happiness. Whereas now, I’m happy without boxing.”
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) July 19, 2019
It’s a new feeling for Quigley and one which only became vivdly apparent in the wake of the Ballybofey boxer’s corner retirement at the Fantasy Springs Casino in L.A. during the summer.
He admits how “it was a funny feeling that I had for a while, thinking ‘do I not need boxing now?’ ‘do I not want to box anymore?'”
“Boxing is serving a diferent purpose in my life right now and, for me, I need to find that purpose. The purpose was to make me happy, but now I am happy, so the purpose has to be to become a world champion and achieving goals and dreams I had.”
“That feeling, that transition, it was very hard to understand when I was going through it – from ‘needing’ boxing to just enjoying it and loving it.”
“It might be just maturity setting in. I’ve a beautiful girlfriend, April, and a young girl back home, Sarah. These wee things become all that more important in life. ‘Brought down to Earth’ wouldn’t be the right words, just that I’ve become very happy in my life.”
“I’m ready now to go and achieve what I set out to achieve,” said the upbeat fighter who was speaking at a media event to announce his role as an ambassador for Ladbrokes alongside Stephen Ferris, Kevin Doyle, and Paul Townend.
In days gone by, and indeed for some onlookers now, Quigley’s mindset is boxing blasphemy – but the Ballybofey 28-year-old is adamant that his head is clear and his goals will be achieved.
Quigley acknowledged how “there are people that are going to turn around and say ‘oh, he doesn’t have the hunger anymore’ or ‘he doesn’t have the bite anymore’ but I’m still determined, I’m still focused, I still have that goal, ambition, of being world champion.”
“Now that I’ve made that transition of understanding what role boxing has in my life, I can set about it in the right manner.”
“In my amateur career, the losses that I had were vital, they really made a big difference in my life and career. This fight, I went in there – and I’m not taking anything away from Johnson, he went in there, he performed well, and he won – personally I don’t think I performed the best that I could’ve performed.”
“I think that’s why I’m not too disappointed in myself, because I know once I get that performance out of me that I’ll be able to go on to be world champion. If I had have gone in there and performed to the best that I could have and got beat I would be thinking ‘where am I going to go now from here?'”
“I know my performances haven’t hit the surface yet and that’s what’s keeping the confidence in me.”
Quigley is determined to return before Christmas – “I don’t want to sit on the shelf too long” – but changes could be afoot.
The Ulsterman has been part of the Wincobank Gym in Sheffield for his past three fights having relocated closer to home from Manny Robles’s Rock Gym in L.A.
However, from the outside, things don’t seem to have clicked with new trainer Dom Ingle and, while Quigley himself has not called an end to the working relationship, the analytical 160lber is willing to make wholesale changes if needed.
Quigley, who trained with Andy Lee and Paddy Donovan in Dublin earlier this week, explained how “I’m really sitting down and questioning things – putting questions to myself more than anything else – and understanding that the performances just weren’t coming out, and why they weren’t coming out.”
“I’m looking that everything, questioning everything, and looking at what I can improve.”
“You have one shot at this sport, one shot at life, and you have to make decisions. Maybe in the next two or three weeks I will make some big decisions, maybe I won’t, I don’t know yet, but whatever is right I will do.”
“It’s just a matter now of putting a few wee things in place, getting that wee spark back.”
One thing that won’t be changing is Quigley’s backroom team – managers Sheer Sports and promoter Golden Boy.
The West Coast-based outfits ensure that the World silver medallist has been built differently than most Irish boxers in America – a point seized upon by Matt Macklin and others.
However, Quigley is loyal to his backers and revealed that they will allow him a gradual rebuild rather than a riskier return now that the duck egg has been smashed.
The former elite amateur recalled how “after I lost, they came to me and said ‘this happens, don’t be worrying about it, don’t be getting down on yourself, let us know when you’re ready and we’ll gradually take you back up to the top again’.”
“I’m very lucky to be in that position because I know some people who’ve taken a loss and were just thrown to one side.”
Never overly protective of his record – and aware of the current DAZN-fuelled lucrative middleweight scene – Quigley is confident that big fights are in his future.
“The way boxing is, it’s a cut-throat sport and once you lose everybody writes you off. Mayweather was that good that he wrecked boxing! He kept his ‘0’ and people now think that you can’t lose.”
“It depends what way you want to look at it – you can go ‘okay, I have one loss, I can’t have another’ and that’s true, you don’t want to be getting beat, not in any sport.”
“But the beautiful thing about boxing is that one fight can change your career, one shot can change your career. You win one big fight, you’re back up to where you were or even higher.”
“I’m so lucky to be in the middleweight division that has so many great fighters. Opportunities are going to come along and it’s up to me to take them and I know, deep down, I’m well capable of taking them.”
“Once I get everything together and get back on the horse, get galloping again, that’s when everything’s going to fall into place.”