Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Absent Quigley fuels pro rumours

Hot talent: Jason Quigley has attracted a host of promoters

What a difference a countback makes. Twelve month ago, Jason Quigley edged out London 2012 Olympian Darren O'Neill on a 48-39 countback following a 13-13 tie en route to his first Irish Elite belt.

But one year on, Quigley, who beat Roy Sheahan in the 2013 final, won't be back at the National Stadium in Dublin to defend his middleweight crown.

The 22-year-old missed Tuesday's 6.00pm deadline to enter the championships and the 75kg Irish title is now vacant.

Quigley's no-show indicates that the world No 2 and European No 1 is about to join the pro ranks. If he does switch codes, he'll be following world No 1 ranked bantamweight John Joe Nevin and No 9 ranked heavyweight Tommy McCarthy, who have both turned pro with Green Blood and Berkeley.

Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy and other promoters are reported to be chasing his signature. The Finn Valley BC, Donegal orthodox is signed with Italia Thunder in the World Series of Boxing and although he has yet to fight for the WSB in 2013/14, he could before the end of the season in May.

But for now, Ireland appear to have lost a world No 2 ranked middleweight on foot of losing a No 1 ranked bantamweight (Nevin) on the road to Rio 2016.

With Quigley out of the mix, six of the 10 Elite male titles will lie vacant at this year's championships, which begin tomorrow night at the National Stadium.

The men's and women's finals will be held on March 7 and 8. Finals tickets are now on sale from the National Stadium.

Katie Taylor will be on that card as she is set to fight for a title in Ireland for the first time on March 8 in a historic rematch with Belfast's Alanna Audley-Murphy.

Taylor won on points when they met in the first sanctioned IABA women's bout in Ireland in 2001 at the National Stadium and now meet in the Elite lightweight class.

Meanwhile, Scott Quigg will defend his WBA World super-bantamweight title against Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeno at Manchester's Phones4u Arena on April 19.

Unbeaten Quigg, 25, retained his title in November with a second round technical knockout victory over Diego Oscar Silva.

While there have been rumours of a showdown with Ulsterman Carl Frampton, Quigg must now focus on mandatory challenger Cermeno.

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