Tokyo Dreams – Jason Quigley reveals how close he was to Ryōta Murata fight


Jason Quigley [14(11)-0] had his flights booked, his suit sorted, and was practicing his pronunciation of ‘konichiwa’ before seeing his big Vegas fight scuppered.

At the start of the month it emerged that the Donegal middleweight was all-but-confirmed to be facing Japanese star Ryota Murata [14(11)-1(0)].

The clash with the London Olympic gold medallist and holder of the WBA ‘regular’ belt was set to take place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October 20th and the fight was days from being announced.

However, all-but-confirmed is not confirmed, and an insistence from the WBA that Murata faces mandatory challenger Rob Brant saw Quigley’s opportunity of a quick jump to world level shelved.

Revealing just how close he was to the fight, Quigley described how “I was in touch with sponsors and was even getting a suit sorted for a press conference in Tokyo to announce the fight. ”

“I had high hopes and was excited for going to Tokyo for the announcement, for my first title fight in Las Vegas and, of course, it was disappointing when I realised it wasn’t going to happen.”

While disappointing, 27-year-old Quigley has taken the sequence of events in his stride.

A proposed fight date in August was delayed due to the prospect of a Murata match-up but the Ballybofey boxer has never left the gym, training at the Wincobank with Dominic Ingle ahead of his next opportunity – which looks likely to be in October.

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The Golden Boy-promoted puncher outlined how “I believe that everything happens for a reason. Whatever path that’s laid out for me will fall into place, whether it’s God’s work or someone else up there.”

“I do all the right things: I live a healthy lifestyle; I eat properly; I sleep right; I surround myself with good people. I think that can only come back to me in good ways.”

“It was a great experience to be in negotiations for a World title fight and to be on the cusp of going for a shot like that.”

This is all not to say that the ordeal was not frustrating for Quigley and he has paid tribute to his team for guiding him through an uncertain period.

The World silver medallist explained that “I have a good team of people around me; people I can trust to guide me.”

“I’m lucky that I have such a good relationship with my management team, Sheer Sports, and my promotors, Golden Boy Promotions.”

“They made a not-so-smooth situation seem smooth. And it wasn’t smooth. It was all over the place. It was on. Then it was off. Then I was going to Tokyo. Then I was staying at home. I had a good team around me who were keeping me right.”

“That showed me why boxers need managers, promoters and coaches to handle that side of things.”

When the Murata fight looked likely, there were some who questioned Quigley’s decision.

It would have been a big jump in class and one which he would have gone into just one fight removed from a serious hand injury. Aside from this there was also the fact that he would be the away fighter on a Top Rank promotion and most likely not have had his coach in the corner as stablemate Billy Joe Saunders is set to defend his WBO middleweight title versus Demetrius Andrade on the same date.

However, Quigley is not in the business of turning down big fights.

He reasoned that “ideally, I’d want another three or four fights, but I wasn’t going to say no.”

“This is who I am and what I am and this is where I went to get to. It was always going to be difficult to say no to a chance like that.”

“I wasn’t planning for it so soon, but when opportunities like that come along, you can’t not take them. I took it and thought the title was there for the taking.”

“This shows that I’m at the level to challenge for a world title. It’s great to be in that mix.”

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With the Murata chapter closed, Quigley is keen to get back in the ring having last fought in March when he stopped Daniel Rosario.

An announcement is imminent for the Irishman who outlined how “the only disappointment for me in all of this was missing out on a fight date in August. I’m in good shape, I’m confident and I’m sure that this has happened for the right reasons.”

“Training is going great and my fitness is at the right level. I’m working hard with Dominic, John and everyone at the gym. I’m sparring with Liam Williams, who’s fighting in Wales shortly.”

“I’m feeling sharp again. I’m ready to rock and roll. At this level, boxing moves quickly and you need to stay with the times and stay ready and active.”

“We’re getting my next fight together and we’re well underway so there’ll be an announcement very shortly.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie