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Jason “El Animal” Quigley took a big leap up the boxing ladder – Written & Photos By: Raymundo Dioses
Middleweight standout Jason “El Animal” Quigley took a big leap up the boxing ladder by out-working and stifling former contender Glen Tapia over 10 mostly entertaining rounds as the main event of Golden Boy Promotions inaugural fight card on March 23, 2017.
The Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California was the setting as a packed house witnessed the professional debut of Olympic Bronze medalist Marlene Esparza, their hometown hero Randy Caballero make a successful return to the ring, and Quigley and Tapia providing an old school barn burner type of affair.
Quigley, (13-0, 10KO) threw a few feints in the opening round to gauge his opponent. The Irishman seemed confident in the opening minutes of frame one, controlling the middle of the ring and throwing right hands to the head and body. Tapia sneaked in a right hand in the final minute of the round, which Quigley took well. Quigley then landed the best punch of round one with a straight right, pushing back Tapia which caused a stir in the pro-irish crowd. Quigley ended the round with another straight right that briefly wobbled Tapia.
The second started with an even exchange in the middle of the ring, each fighter landing well. Quigely pressed with his right hand hook while Tapia chose to counter-dig to the body. Quigley threw in combination and had Tapia backing up, then fighting through a bloodied nose. Quigley wisely went to the body midway through round two. A left to the body sent Tapia to the ropes, yet the New Jersey native recovered. A punch near the end of the round caused Tapia to slip to the canvas in what referee Jack Reiss ruled a slip.
Quigley looked fresh and ready to start the third while Tapia threw like he knew he was behind a few points. Tapia put in work to Quigley’s body with much success. Tapia was willing to take the punishment to give, so Quigley slowed a bit and began to fight behind his jab. Tapia, now with his legs recovered, kept going to the body. The round ended with Tapia jawing verbally at Quigley in a bit of a momentum swing.
Quigley used a varied offense with shots to the head and body in what was a great start to the fourth frame for the middleweight prospect/contender. Tapia began to press forward and trade on almost even terms with Quigley. Combination punching was the name of the game for Quigley, who seemed to visibly tire yet kept up with his offense. It looked to be a round in which Tapia controlled, yet did not win.
By round five, it was an even fight, no matter where the scorecards saw it. Just like the start of the fight, but fist throwers stood in the middle of the ring and sought to break each other’s will. Tapia countered a soft right hand from Quigley with a meaningful right to the head. A decent exchange transpired before Tapia tapped his gloves and went to work with a double jab at the end of the frame. Tapia threw ten un-meaningful punches to end the round.
Round six started like all the others; gritty, old-school feel exchanges in the middle of the ring that must have made Golden Boy Promotions proud as their first event on ESPN. Tapia thought he had Quigley in trouble and pressed him to the ropes, with not much coming from it. Back to the middle of the ring the pair went, with Quigley throwing a right that he should have sat down on; this was evident as a few seconds later he landed flush on Tapia’s chin with the same exact punch. The ten second click sounded and the boxers went to throwing until the bell sounded.
A right hand lead opened the seventh for Quigley, who followed up with another right in a great way to start the round. Quigley got to Tapia’s chin with a left hand and moments later circled to the other side of the ring and unloaded a clipping left hand. Tapia’s chin held up even as Quigley’s shots continued to remain accurate. Sweeping right and left hands continued to land for Quigley, who then circled and dodged Tapia’s replies. If Tapia won the previous round, the seventh was all Quigley.
Round eight saw both fighters looking for the fight-changing blow, with Quigley blocking a left from Tapia and moments’ later Quigley landing almost flush to Tapia’s head. Tapia aught Quigley combing in with a left hand, and continued to throw the left, which Quigley seemed not to like. Tapia then threw feints and Quigley would bite and pop a jab. Tapia believed this to be effective, and sought to keep feinting; Quigley thought differently and threw a three punch combo, one of which landed towards the end of the round.
A pivotal ninth round was opened up with rights and lefts from Quigley, which began to land. Quigley then sat down behind his jab. Quigley moved around the ring like a seasoned professional. Quigley threw five straight left hands and continued to shoot his jab. Four, five, six left hands from Quigley ended round nine on a positive note.
A mutual respect glove tap began the tenth and final frame. Tapia threw with Quigley on the ropes; Quigley diverted to the center of the ring and continued to pace around while throwing left hands only; Quigley may have hurt his right hand midway through the fight. Quigley continued to pop out his left hand jab, which again bloodied the face and nose of Tapia and even had him backing up. The left hands continued to the face of Tapia. Tapia should have taken advantage of Quigley’s injured right hand, yet Quigley showed the poise of a fighter beyond his years to finish off the fight.
End results had it 98-92, 99-91, and 100-90 in a fight that had great battling in the middle the ring and momentum shifts in a fight that beckoned back to the good ol’ days of professional prize fighting.
With the win, Quigley nabbed the vacant NABF middleweight title. The young Irishman looks to have a bright future ahead in the sport of boxing, and is on the cusp of major title contention with continued success in 2017.
“I’m taking this little bambino home with me, to my people in Donegal and celebrate with my loved ones,” said Quigley.
“Then when I come back, I’m going to celebrate with my team. Everyone here has been on my team since my performance under the Canelo-Lara card, and this is a stepping stone to many more belts that are coming my way
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