Jason Quigley suffers first defeat as a professional in California
Jason Quigley's dream of challenging for a World title has suffered a crushing setback.
The Donegal middleweight endured his first loss as a professional when his corner retired him after nine rounds in a career defining fight in Fantasy Spring Casino, California in the early hours of this morning.
Aside from surrendering his NABF middleweight belt, the 28-year old is also likely to lose world ranking placings. Prior to the fight he was ranked fifth with the WBC, eighth with the WBA and 14 with the IBF.
Even though he had acknowledged that the fight would be the toughest of his career he was expected to prevail against 35-year old Tureano Johnson who is from the Bahamas but lives in the US.
An experienced pro, Johnson was once lined up to fight former middleweight champions Gennady Golovkin. After this fight was delayed, he was beaten at another world class middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko in 2017.
He was subsequently out of the ring for 18 months. In his comeback fight in February he was held by a draw by an unheralded fighter. All the signs were that he was past his best.
But with his career on the line Johnson re-set the clock against the Donegal man, who looked on the cusp of challenging for a world title provided he kept his one hundred percent record.
Now those plans are in tatters. Even though Quigley showed admirable courage and didn't hit the canvass, the nature of the loss will force him to have a serious rethink about where his career is heading.
He was five years a professional last week. Having initially based himself in LA after he turned professional, he later moved back to the UK where he trained under Dominic Ingle in Sheffield. Of course he is young enough to re-bounce but the rebuilding process will be tortuous.
However, he will take encouragement from the case of his fellow Irish fighter Andy Lee who also suffered a shock loss during his career but ended up winning the world middleweight title.
Straight from the first bell Johnson demonstrated that he meant business against the former European amateur champion and World silver medallist.
For the first time in his career Quigley was on the receiving end of sustained hooks to the head and heavy bodyshots.
Quigley fought back in the fifth but was rocked by a huge left hook in the sixth. By now his face was badly marked but he bravely continued.
In the ninth Johnson was instructed by his corner to finish the fight and he duly followed their instructions and one big body shot almost had Quigley on the canvas.
While the ringside doctor was willing to allow the fight to continue, Quigley's trainer Dominic Ingle decided to pulled him out of the now one-sided encounter.