Boxing

'Familiar Accent? I Don't Know What The F*** The Wee Man Says!' - Quigley Excited For Conlan Arrival

'Familiar Accent? I Don't Know What The F*** The Wee Man Says!' - Quigley Excited For Conlan Arrival

Donegal's undefeated middleweight prospect Jason Quigley is understandably excited about Michael Conlan's arrival Stateside.

Earlier this week, Conlan revealed to Kevin Byrne of the Irish Sun that he'll be teaming up with former Irish teammate Quigley and his trainer Manny Robles in LA's aptly-named Top Rank Gym, with the two-time Olympian's professional debut officially set for Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick's Day.

Conlan's fellow amateur standout and über-talented Ulsterman believes his old friend's arrival will create a symbiotic dynamic between both fighters, as they embark on an Irish pugilistic takeover of America's West Coast:

To be honest with you, iron sharpens iron. The two of us know each other well; know the levels we can get to. We both know that we're capable of becoming world champions.

We're friends, and we're going to drive each other on in the gym every day, and we're going to keep reminding ourselves why we're sweating and covered in blood and tears every day. It's going to be great to have a fellow Irishman out here with me.

Quigley has told in the past of the sense of loneliness he can feel as he chases his own American dream. The Ballybofey man has been learning Spanish to communicate with the Latino gymmates and fans who christened him 'El Animal' last year, but relishes his own fight nights more than the average fighter; they are, after all, the nights on which he hears the comforting chorus of Irish voices roaring him into the ring.

What a lovely notion, then, that Conlan's Belfast borgue can fill that void between fights...

A familiar accent? I don't know what the fuck the wee man says! He may as well be Mexican!

Ah no, to be honest it'll be great to have him out here. The Irish get the Irish, you know? Better than the Americans, obviously. You have your culture and your way of going on.

I wish when I came out here at the start that I had the likes of Michael or someone that I could familiarise with. So I'm happy to be here and to be able to help Michael in that sense, to get familiarised with the gym. Because it's hard coming into a new gym when you're a big draw like Michael is, so it'll be nice for him to come in and just show up with me and have the craic.

Advertisement

Quigley's relentless piss-taking of his former teammates doesn't end at accent-related jibes, mind. When it's suggested that Paddy Barnes may become envious of Irish boxing's new Hollywood bromance, the 25-year-old needs no second invitation to rib another old pal:

Paddy's like a wee woman anyway so we won't worry about him. He's never fuckin' happy!

We await Barnes' response with bated breath.

A sprained wrist put pay to Quigley's fight in Dallas last weekend, which was originally scheduled to have taken place on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez's stoppage victory over Liverpudlian Liam Smith. Injury did, however, allow him to indulge in some of that famous Hollywood lifestyle during a rare spell off duty.

Last time we spoke with the former World amateur silver medallist, Quigley explained why one of his 'Team Quigley' jackets has featured prominently in photographs of Coldplay's world tour. A sprained wrist might have cost him a fight at Cowboys Stadium, but it did at least mean he could head to the band's post-Rose Bowl after-party with friends. Every teardrop has a silver lining, as they say.

I had friends over from Ireland and we had two after-parties with them. It was amazing. I mean, these are the kinds of opportunities that you'd get out here in LA that you'd never get back at home.

It was funny, Chris Martin and all was there, and we were just chilling out. Next thing, in walks this guy, and he looked very rough - a baseball cap, long raggy hair and all that. I says to one of the boys, 'Jesus, your boy there looks a lot like Matt Damon'. And they're like, 'Ha, so he does!' Next thing we knew, it was him! He must be playing a homeless person in his next movie or something like that because he was rough as fuck looking!

Advertisement

He recalls the night fondly but strikes as keen to move on from talking downtime. After all, he's living in Los Angeles for work and work alone. It's only natural that he'd have to remind himself on occasion.

It's a great lifestyle out here but I have to stay focused on the reason I'm here, and the reason I'm getting to go to these concerts and things like that. That's my boxing. And for me, if I keep boxing well, it'll keep giving me a lifestyle that I only dreamed of as a kid.

Quigley and Michael Conlan are two of the only three male Irish fighters to have ever fought in a World Championships final at Senior level. With two of them now pro, and the iconic Paddy Barnes alongside them in the paid ranks, a stagnant professional boxing scene in Ireland seems destined for a mini-renaissance of sorts.

Long-touted as Irish boxing's next transcendent figure as he continues to take names across the Atlantic, Quigley has been beating that drum for some time, and will excitedly answer questions about future fights back in his homeland (his dream is to fight for a world title in his native Donegal). But this time he brings the issue up minus the prompts. Perhaps Mick Conlan's Top Rank deal, which will see him fight back in Ireland at least once a year, has Quigley itching that bit more for a homecoming bout.

You're looking at the new generation of Irish fighters. That's what it's all about now. My name, Michael Conlan's name, Paddy Barnes' name, Steven Donnelly's name - the guys like Carl Frampton. These are all the names that are going to be household names in the future. Massive talents that have turned professional and that are going to do well at professional level. It's going to be great for our country and great for the sport.

To bring back big shows, to bring back big events. That's what I want to do personally. I want people, months in advance, booking work off saying, 'We're going to the Quigley fight'. In another two or three years, Michael's going to be at a stage where he can headline fights. Paddy the same. I hope in the next year or so that I'll be headlining fights. I want to bring that back to Ireland because the Irish fans are amazing; it's like having an extra arm in the ring, so it is! All I want to do is get back to the people who have put so much time and support and effort into me.

Until that day does arrive, 'be it next year or shortly afterwards' according to the man himself, we'll continue to roar him on in the wee hours. Perhaps his new gymmate's eventual return to these parts will tempt Oscar De La Hoya to follow suit with Donegal's golden boy.

SEE ALSO: The Golden Generation Of Irish Amateur Boxing: How Will They Fare In The Pro Ranks?

You Might Also Enjoy: Macklin: We'll Definitely See 'Inseparable' Conlan And Barnes Fight Together In Ireland

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

You may also like