Jason Quigley recalls fighting Olympian Emmet Brennan as an 11-year-old

Having made him cry as 11-year-old, Jason Quigley is loving watching the beaming smile of Olympian Emmet Brennan.

The Dubliner is one of the Tokyo Games surprise stories having virtually come out of retirement four years ago, going full time and battling his way to the Olympics.

Brennan now will fulfil his dream tomorrow [Sunday] afternoon in Tokyo, facing top Uzbek Dilshodbek Ruzmetov in the light heavyweight Round of 32.

It’s a ‘Cinderalla Story’ Quigley, who turned over at a time he was being tipped to become an Olympian, likes and one made better by the fact he shared the ring with Brennan as a kid.

“We were 11 years of age, we met in the National Boy 36kg final – I have the picture in my house still of me and Emmet facing off and then the one with us with our arms around each other,” Quigley said when speaking to Newstalk’s Off the Ball.

“He was with St Saviour’s club in Dublin and it was an amazing experience.”

Like most who follow Irish boxing, the world title hopeful seems invested in the Dub’s story.

“Emmet went off the radar for a bit and packed boxing-in. To see him going to the Olympic Games after taking out a Credit Union loan to fund his training, he deserves everything he gets,” he continues before stressing there is no pressure on the 30-year-old going into the Games.

“He really has to go here now and he could be the surprise package in terms of there is absolutely no pressure on him. He’s achieved more than what many people thought he would achieve, although not what he felt he would achieve.

“He’s very focused and driven, and has a lot of belief in himself. He’s going to this Olympic Games with zero pressure, he’s already achieved beyond the achievable in terms of what others thought.”

Now having made it to the ball the Donegal middle wants Brennan to slip into the class slipper and keep the story going.

“For him now, he has to go in there and enjoy it, but to make it an even bigger Cinderella story than it already is.”

Reflecting further on their underage fight, Quigley added: “I think everyone at 11 is smiley and happy, and I remember that I won the fight and beat him in the final.

“I remember him crying after the fight. I got beat at 14 years of age and cried after the fight as well, we were just very young and were just very excited to get to that stage because 11 is the earliest you can enter championships.

“We were 36kg at 11 years of age, fighting in the National Stadium ring. We were like two wee puppets in the ring!

“I’ve never really come across Emmet too much since then […] but hopefully I’ll crash into him soon.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com