Last night it was revealed by ESPN boxing journalist Dan Rafael that Quigley will face 2012 Olympic gold medallist and Top Ten-ranked middleweight Ryōta Murata [14(11)-1(0)] on Saturday October 20th.
Rafael reports that the bout will “probably” play out at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and will be aired on the ESPN+ streaming service.
A bout which pits U.S. promotional giants Top Rank [Murata] against Golden Boy [Quigley], the Donegal fighter will be in the ‘away’ corner on the night but his Japanese opponent will be leaving his native land for the first time in four fights.
Murata, ranked #7 by the TBRB, currently holds the WBA regular belt – the organisation’s champion is Gennady Golovkin – and this will be on the line in his twelve-round contest with Ballybofey’s Quigley.
Therefore, a win in the Vegas casino would push Quigley, who is currently unranked by the WBA, to the top of the queue for a shot at the title which Kazakh Golovkin will defend in a rematch with the Irishman’s promotional stablemate Canelo Alvarez a month beforehand.
Following an outstanding amateur career which culminated in a podium-topping performance in London in 2012, Murata turned pro in 2013 and has been matched very progressively since.
After racking up 12 wins, the Tokyo talent went in with Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam for the ‘regular’ WBA trinket last year and would lose an extremely contentious split-decision – a result decried as one of the worst ‘robberies’ in many a year. Murata would dominate a rematch with the French-Cameroonian and then stopped European champion Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round of their clash in April.
Quigley made his return from over a year out with injury back in March, dominating and stopping Daniel Rosario in six in Boston. The 27-year-old had been out since the previous March having suffered a broken hand and extensive ligament damage in his win over Glen Tapia.
The mooted fight date of October 20th raises questions – with Quigley’s Wincobank stablemate Billy Joe Saunders being scheduled to defend his WBO middleweight title versus Demetrius Andrade on the same night on a Matchroom USA DAZN bill, meaning coach Brendan Ingle would have to choose between his two fighters.
While sources with knowledge of the negotiations have conferred with Rafael – and Irish-Boxing.com – official confirmation of the fight is awaited.
UPDATE: The above piece states that Quigley is unranked by the WBA which was correct at the time of writing. Quigley has since been installed at #9 in the rankings with the organisation.