Quigley set for next step to title shot
Had things panned out differently, Jason Quigley would have been under the bright Las Vegas lights this weekend to fight for the WBA world middleweight title.
Everything had been in place to announce a bout against WBA belt holder Ryota Murata. At the 11th hour, the governing body put the brakes on and ordered Murata to fight the mandatory challenger Rob Brant.
Murata and Brant clash on Saturday night in Vegas, but Quigley (14-0) - who defends his NABF title against Freddy Hernandez (34-9) at Fantasy Springs, Indio, California tonight - feels as if he's closing in on a big-time shot.
"It was a great experience to be in negotiations for a world title fight and to be on the verge of going for a shot like that," Quigley said. "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.
"It showed that I'm at the level to challenge for a world title. It's great to be in that mix."
Quigley is now ranked sixth in the WBC rankings and ninth in the WBA's list. The seasoned Hernandez, a 39-year-old who challenged for the WBC world welterweight title in 2010, offers Quigley another step up.
The Donegal man said: "I'm in with a very experienced lad and he's been to levels that I haven't been to.
"Nothing will faze this man. He's a dangerous opponent because he's coming with nothing to lose. He knows one big performance from him can set him up big time.
"I just have to get in there and let him know who the main man is."
Andy Lee was a previous holder of the NABF strap Quigley defends. Quigley added: "This is my belt now, and I'm not letting anyone take it away."