Jason Quigley scored the biggest win of his career tonight in Los Angeles in what was his toughest fight to date – both on paper and in the ring.
The Donegal middleweight took on Glen Tapia at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio in the headline bout on the inaugural Golden Boy on ESPN show, scoring a unanimous decision to claim the vacant NABF title following an immensely hard fight
Since his win over Jorge Melendez in December, Quigley has been joined under Manny Robles at ‘The Rock Gym’ by former Irish team mate Mick Conlan, and ‘El Animal’ made it two wins in two weeks for the gym following Conlan’s debut triumph in New York last Friday.
Tapia had lost his previous two fights, to David Lemieux and Michel Soro, via fourth round stoppages, and had pledged beforehand that he would prove his doubters wrong. While he didn’t get the win, the former light middleweight contender definitely did show that he had something left in the tank.
A strong start by the former Elite amateur looked to have sapped the gas tanks somewhat, and Tapia enjoyed a strong middle portion to the fight, but the class of Quigley deservedly won out in the end of what was a great learning fight.
Quigley began aggressively, forcing Tapia to the ropes, and he would wobble the New Jersey native with a big right hook after pulling down his guard. Tapia’s nose bloodied early and he would again be hurt on the ropes in the closing seconds of the round.
The Ukrainian-style guard pull was working well for Quigley into the second round and he would begin to unload combinations. A huge body shot saw Tapia sink don low and the American would be on the canvas soon after, although it was correctly ruled an accidental trip.
Tapia bravely looked to trade in a more even third, however the more frequent and heavier shots were coming from the Irishman.
Quigley stood off somewhat in the fourth but was clipped heavily twice by Tapia as ‘Jersey Boy’ threatened to grab a foothold.
The Tapia resurgence continued in the fifth, with Quigley looking somewhat tired and being caught with a massive uppercut on the way in.
With Tapia looking to make it a war, Quigley obliged, going toe-to-toe at the start of the sixth, before reverting to his boxing skills, bar a 20 second salvo where he seemed to be stung to the body.
The Ballybofey man stayed on the backfoot in the seventh, and did ping Tapia with a couple of big single overhand rights.
A scrappy eighth saw both land big shots, as Tapia began to retreat for the first time since the early rounds, although still catching Quigley with a big uppercut and a subsequent flurry.
A quiet ninth stanza was dominated by the Tír Chonaill man off the jab and, with a beach head built, it looked like Tapia would need a stoppage in the final round.
Tapia did come bulling forward, but Quigley would meet him head-on, interspersing these moments with some backfoot boxing to see out the win.
Going to the scorecards after a competitive and entertaining contest, Quigley was awarded a unanimous decision win with tallies of 100:90, 99:91, and 98:92
A second ten-round points win for Quigley sees him move to 13(10)-0, while Tapia falls to 23(15)-4(3) following his game showing.
The Ulsterman is ranked #10 with the WBA, and will now enter the rankings of the WBC following tonight’s win. Kazakh Gennady Golovkin is world champion with both organisations.