Boxing

Jason Quigley to take on Japan's Ryota Murata for the WBA world middleweight title in Las Vegas

Steven Donnelly on the way to beating Kevin McCauley on his debut at Windsor Park
Andy Watters

DONEGAL middleweight Jason Quigley is expected to challenge Japan's Ryota Murata for the WBA world middleweight title in Las Vegas on October 20.

Quigley, now based in Sheffield in Dominic Ingle's gym after a spell in Los Angeles, is 14-0 with 11 stoppage wins and this is the chance he has been waiting for after injuries caused his exciting career to stall.

The Laghy native, who boxed just once in 2017, has had a single contest so far this year and is in for a serious test against Japan's Murata who lost a world title bid in May last year against Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam but reversed the decision in the October rematch after the Frenchman retired after seven rounds in Tokyo.

The Irish News understands that Michael Conlan will feature on the undercard of Quigley-Murata and he could be back in action in Belfast next summer with an outdoor show at Feile an Phobail (Festival of the people) at the Falls Park.

“It seems really positive at the minute,” said Conlan.

“Feile asked for it this year but it wasn't possible because we knew Windsor Park was happening. But now Top Rank have been informed, Feile are up for it and, after seeing it this year and the venue, it's something I'd really want to do.”

Meanwhile, Conlan admitted he was “devastated” for his friend Paddy Barnes, whose WBC flyweight title bid ended in defeat despite an encouraging start against defending champion Cristofer Rosales at Windsor Park on Saturday night. Barnes was knocked out by a wicked bodyshot from the Nicaraguan in the dying seconds of round four.

“He could have been world champion by now so I'm devastated for him,” said Conlan.

“He was better technically than Rosales, but Rosales looked a bit more in control of his pace, Paddy seemed to be going at a higher pace but that's all about experience. I think he'll come back stronger and win the world title.”

Conlan added: “He jumped in there in his sixth fight and lost to a good world champion.

“But there's no losing for him really because now he has established himself on the world stage, he has that experience of being in a world title fight and what it's all about.

“I believe he will go on to be a world champion. He jumped straight up to world title level and I definitely think he'll be a world champion.

SEAN McComb showed off his punching arsenal and some slick boxing skills as he scored a KO win on professional debut last Saturday night.

The former Holy Trinity ABC lightweight knocked out outclassed opponent Reynaldo Mora at Windsor Park, sealing the deal with a right hook midway through the fourth round that left Mora flattened in a neutral corner.

“What an opportunity and what a performance to put on on my debut,” said McComb afterwards.

“I didn't want to rush anything, I just wanted to go out relaxed and take it as it comes, I wasn't looking for a knockout, I was just worried about my performance and how my punch selection came together.

“My feet and my hands adjusted well, I landed a one-two and I saw him staggering. My feet adjusted well and I was able to get three or four off. I can throw from a lot of different angles.

“He was tough, but I'm coming from elite level in the amateurs.

“You have to start somewhere in the pro game like everybody else and he was a tough journeyman. He took some big punches and he was dangerous with the head but I was able to adapt and finish it.”

It's early days yet for 26-year-old Danny Vaughan-trained McComb but he doesn't intend to hang around as he makes his way up the professional ranks. His next outing is on the undercard of Amir Khan versus Samuel Vargas in Birmingham on September 8.

“I've got it all, I'm a universal boxer,” he said.

“I can box orthodox if I want, I can box southpaw, I can stand in close and fight, and I can go on the move and box or stand mid-distance…

“I've been taught all that in the High Performance working with Zaur Antia who is a master coach and now I'm working with Danny and it is all coming together well. I'm happy with what I showed off there.

“I want to be as active as I can and climb as quick as I can to the top. My team are very confident in me and they know I can go all the way to the top. I'll let Jamie (Conlan) and the boys focus on what's next for me and I'll keep working on my boxing and how I train.”

McComb's catchy ring moniker ‘The Public Nuisance' refers to the fixed penalty notice he received for an alleged offence in Australia at the Commonwealth Games in April. McComb was later found to be the innocent victim in the matter.

“There's a story behind it,” he said.

“It's a good name to have. It sticks, it's unique and it sort of describes me as a character. The fans love it, so why not?”

Earlier on Saturday night, fellow debutant Steven Donnelly also got his professional career off to a winning start. The Ballymena super-welter out-pointed 199-fight journeyman Kevin McCauley and is also looking forward to appearing on the undercard of Khan-Vargas on September 8.

Elsewhere, Dublin heavyweight Sean Turner headlines at the Titanic Exhibition Centre against Liverpool's David Price on October 5.

CONRAD Cummings intends to get back “to the big fights” after hammering out a comeback win over Nick Jenman at Windsor Park.

Cummings was always in control and banked six valuable rounds to put his recent loss to Dubliner Lee Keeler behind him.

“I've been out of the ring a long time,” he explained afterwards.

“Luke Keeler wasn't even a fight, I was just there in body. It would have been nice to have got the stoppage but I needed the rounds and it was a good competitive fight, I enjoyed it.

“It was a good fight to get me back into the good fights.

“It's good to get the body going again and get the cobwebs off.”

Durable Jenman was hanging on at times and Cummings landed thumping right hands as he stalked him down over the second half of the fight.

“I got him with some good shots and I should have put the next phase in,” he said.

“His legs went and I was looking for a highlight reel knockout instead of putting the punches together.

“But I needed that fight.

“I feel like this last year I've constantly been in the gym sparring. Other than that fight against Keeler I haven't been in the ring. That was just what I need, I won it easy but he was there.

“Hopefully I'll be out soon. I'd love two more before Christmas but I'd take one good one and take it from there.”

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