Golden opportunity arises for Jason Quigley
The 22-year-old meets Kazakh Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in this morning’s final in Almaty (10.50am)
Ireland’s Jason Quigley throws a right hand during yesterday’s middleweight semi-final against Russia’s Artem Chebotarev at the World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The 22-year-old from Donegal meets the sixth seeded Kazakh, Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, in this morning’s middleweight final in Almaty (10.50am Irish time), while light heavyweight Joe Ward leaves with a bronze medal after losing to the mercurial Cuban second seed Julio Peraza.
Quigley earned his final place on a unanimous decision while Ward lost on all three judges’ scorecards after a frustrating bout chasing shadows.
Quigley won the European Championship earlier this summer and (similar to Taylor and 1989 bronze medallist Michael Carruth) he is coached by his own father, Conor. It was Conor along with the Irish coaching team, who played a hand in his Quigley’s winning tactic of scoring from a distance against the dangerous Russian, Artem Chebotarev.
“I knew I had the speed, the skill to beat him. I hit him with some heavy shots. Definitely a few times I hurt him. And he was going to let them swing from everywhere,” said the Irish middleweight.
“To be honest I never thought about getting to a final. Definitely it’s a dream come through to get to a world final.”
No Irish male boxer has been in a world final before, although six others, including Ward, have won bronze medals.
Quigley’s rise, however, has been spectacular. Ireland team captain for the 2012 Olympic Games, Darren O’Neill, had kept him out of the squad on previous years.
Now unbeaten since he won the Irish National Championships this year, Quigley has conquered Europe and now bids for world glory. He will leave Kazakhstan with at least a silver.
Quigley won all three rounds against Chebotarev, the first 2-1 on a split decision and the other two more convincingly 30-27, 29-28, 30-27.
Ward, however came up against a lightening-fast boxer in Peraza. The Cuban, who won the world title in Baku two years ago, was one of the most difficult boxers in the tournament. The Irish light heavyweight chased him for three rounds but Peraza, with his hands hanging low, just flashed out jabs and constantly moved.
While Ward was never really troubled, the Cuban was scoring while negating the Irish 19-year-old’s proven power.
“That went against me,” said a philosophical Ward.
“I’m happy now I’ve got a medal but sadly I came up against someone who’s exceptional and knew his job.”