Donegal’s Jason Quigley has secured his first championship belt since turning professional by winning the vacant North American Boxing Federation middleweight title in Indio, California.
In what turned out to be the toughest assignment of his burgeoning two and half year pro career, Quigley beat Glen Tapia on a unanimous decision at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
In a gruelling ten round contest the pair – who are managed by Oscar Da La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions Company – went toe to toe. It was only the second time that Quigley had boxed ten rounds. The victory extends his unbeaten record to 13-0.
The contest looked closer than the judges’ scorecards indicated. The Irishman was awarded the win on scores of 100-90, 99-91; 98-92. ESPS.com scored the fight 97-93 for Quigley which translated into him winning the fight with seven rounds with Tapia being awarded the other three.
Interestingly, however, the statistics compiled by CompuBox supported the judges’ scoring. They estimated that Quigley landed a total of 257 punches which represented 31% of the total number of punches he threw while Tapia managed 178 or 25% of his total output.
“I’m taking this little bambino home with me to my people in Donegal and celebrate with my loved ones,” a beaming Quigley told ESPN after being presented with his belt.
“Then when I come back, I’m going to celebrate with my team. This is a stepping stone to many more belts that are coming my way.”
Unlike Michael Conlan’s much hyped professional debut in Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s night, Quigley’s fight was shown live across the United States. It was the headline act on the first show of the ‘Golden Boy on ESPN’ series of fight nights to be televised on ESPN 2 across the US.
Those who tuned in certainly got full value as Quigley’s opponent New Jersey native Glen Tapia, who was fighting to perverse his career, proved a stubborn opponent.
Until he was stopped in the fourth round of his last two contests by Michel Soro and David Lemieux, Tapia had won all but one of his previous 24 pro fights, 15 inside the distance.
In the early rounds it looked as if Quigley would achieve an early stoppage as well.
He repeatedly caught Tapia with powerful right hands and rocked him with one to the chin in the last minute of the first round. Tapia wobbled back to his corner but survived that early onslaught. As the fight progressed Quigley began to tire and his more experienced opponent used all his ring craft to frustrate the favourite.
Quigley’s left cheek began to swell while Tapia’s face was smeared with blood from a nick over his right eye. It then became a war of attrition with Tapia’s corner repeatedly telling him that he needed to knock out to win.
But the middleweight from Ballybofey-Stranorlar, who is dubbed ‘El Animal’ in the ring, survived to secure a significant win which lifts him to 9th place in the WBA World middleweight ranking list.