Sky Sports Scholarships - Jason Quigley tells Sky Sports about his plans to win world gold
By Sam Drury - Follow on Twitter. Last Updated: September 30, 2013 2:39pm
Jason Quigley: Only has eyes for gold at next month's World Championships
Jason Quigley has every reason to be confident going into October's AIBA World Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan.
The Irishman is unbeaten in 28 fights in a run going back to February 2012 and will head into the championships as one of the favourites to take the middleweight title.
For Quigley though, there is no secret to his success. He simply puts it down to hard work, focus and a refusal to take any opponent lightly.
"It's just something that's built inside of me," he explains. "I just focus on every fight.
"I don't take any boxer for granted, I go in there if it's a world final or a normal club tournament fight, I go in to win and I go in there to give it my best shot and perform the best I can. I think that's the secret of just taking one fight at a time and not overlooking any opponent."
"Definitely I would love to give professional a go, give it a rattle and see how I would get on at it. It's an ambition and a goal of mine to become a professional world champion"
It is a refreshing attitude and perhaps not one often associated with many modern-day boxers. Neither is the humility shown by Quigley but alongside the relaxed and likeable personality is steely determination to succeed. He often refers to the need to focus and it is clear that for him it is more than just a sound-bite to get him through interviews. He means it.
That motivation comes from his father, Conor, with Quigley, 22, naming him as the person to have most inspired him.
"It was my father, when I was a young age, who got me involved in boxing," the European champion said. "We came from a very down to earth background really. We always had to scrape through in life and we weren't always very comfortable in every way.
"That's my ambition and that's my inspiration, to make a great life for my family and make a comfortable life for my family. To take my father and for the two of us to go the whole way together would be very special."
The next step for the County Donegal fighter is the World Championships and the chance to add the world gold to his equivalent from the European Championships earlier this year. Not that Quigley expects to be able to coast into the latter stages.
"Of course, I'm going there to become a world champion," he said. "I wouldn't be going out there any other way, (just) to win a fight or two.
"I'm going out there to win the gold medal, without a doubt, and to be very focused and very determined in my own game.
"I'll just take it one fight at a time and it doesn't matter if I'm drawn with the number one in the world or the number 20 in the world, I just have to take them all as world champions or as a world final because if I don't win my first fight I won't be in the world final."
Heading into the competition with such an impressive recent record means Quigley is likely to be seen as a major scalp but while his winning run has given him confidence, it's not something he is overly concerned about.
"Definitely (it gives me confidence). I'm not sure, but it's a record I don't think has been done in Irish boxing before," he adds. "It only came to my attention when I got into the twenties (and) I started seeing papers saying 'Quigley's unbeaten in twenty-something fights now.'
"It's only recently that it's come to my awareness that I have a run going, whereas, if I wasn't on a run or I got to 5-0 I would never say 'now I want to get to ten' or anything like that. Of course, I want to keep it going and keep things going the way they're going but as I say, I'm not going to let it pressure me or get in the way of anything. I'm just going to focus on my next fights and not let it play too much on my mind."
With such a busy schedule of training and competitions, Quigley could be forgiven if he struggled to relax and find time for things outside of boxing. However, that is something the middleweight star sees as important and he makes sure he gets away from the sport when he gets the chance.
"As soon as I come away from a tournament or something I'll always take a nice few days or a week or so off to myself to completely unwind, forget about boxing," he explains. "I try not to even chat about it or think about it as much as I can - I just chill out with my friends and family back at home.
"Just because boxing now it's a job, it's a business for me. It's my sport that I've chosen to do so it's an everyday thing and when I get a chance to unwind and get away from it after a tournament, that's what I do. I forget about the boxing and I chill out with my friends and my family."
The main aim for Quigley in the ring in the coming years is to win a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He believes that being part of the Sky Sports Scholarships programme, which launched in Ireland on Friday, will be of great assistance in his bid to achieve that goal.
Quigley (right) in action at the 2013 European Championships in Minsk where he won gold
"The scholarship is going to be great for me," Quigley said. "I live three hours away from Dublin and where I train at the weekends and everything it's going to help me out with sports massages and being able to get everything together like that.
"It'll be able to secure me going on training camps outside of the national team as well to the likes of America and getting my experience and everything build up for the road to Rio. It's a great confidence booster just to be involved with Sky at the minute."
The Olympic success of another Irish boxer Katie Taylor, who won gold in London as a Sky Sports Scholar, is another reason the youngster is thrilled to be part of the scheme.
"It's great to know that Sky took Katie on, knowing the potential that she had and then fulfilled," said Quigley. "It's great to know that Sky have the confidence and belief in me to go and do the same, which is great for me.
"Katie's an unbelievable athlete and she's a great person. To go and do what she's done is amazing. I just hope I can go and follow in her footsteps and go the whole way as well."
Whilst the Sky Sports Scholar still faces a number of challenges at amateur level, not least the upcoming World Championships and the Olympic Games, the idea of fighting professionally in future is one that certainly appeals to Quigley.
"Rio is still a long way down the line but from a young age I've always dreamt of becoming a professional world champion as well," he admits.
"Definitely I would love to give professional a go, give it a rattle and see how I would get on at it. It's an ambition and a goal of mine to become a professional world champion.
"It's definitely in the pipeline and I'd be very nicely set up to go professional after a gold medal at the Olympics which would be very, very, very special."
Quigley must now look to take the next step towards achieving his dreams in Almaty when the World Championships get under way on October 11. With the drive and purpose he has shown you wouldn't bet against one of Ireland's rising stars doing just that.