24th October 2011

Scott Quigg became the British super-bantamweight champion in impressive fashion on Saturday night. Over seven clinical rounds of action, he systematically broke down Jason Booth, to take the belt in a memorable night at the Reebok Arena in Bolton.

When Quigg entered the ring as challenger to face the acid test of his fledgling career so far, he looked finally tuned mentally and physically, his aura oozed that of a seasoned champion.

He was in chiseled condition and so far in the zone, he looked possessed with calm pose and unbreakable confidence.

The champion knew fine well he was up against it, in this the fifth defence of his Lonsdale belt. He didn’t need telling by anyone that Quigg was an hungry talent and a danger to his two and half year reign as champion. But the Nottingham battler who has been a fine ambassador for the British game, faced his young adversary the way he always has done a challenge, with balls and his never say die attitude.

Booth’s skills and guile have never been in question and I wouldn’t be surprised if the phrase ‘Coming back from adversity’ had been patented by him some years back. But age waits for no man and he had to accept, after being on the end of a powerful and accurate going over from Quigg, his better days are now behind him.
If it was up to Booth he would have gone the full hog and braved the championship distance, but it would have been too painful to watch, let alone take and his corner made a good move by pulling their man out at the end of round seven. They took the ultimate decision to do so away from Booth, who doesn’t readily identify with the sentence ‘Do you want to quit’? – It isn’t in his vocabulary!
Quiggs digs away at Booths body on his way to victory – pic by Louis Dawson
Booth, 33, was never a real super-bantamweight, but filled the role admirably for over two years. He stayed at the weight after getting a surprise shot at the vacant British title against Mark Moran in April 2009 – Earlier in his career, Booth had claimed the British and Commonwealth titles at flyweight, before moving up to super flyweight to contest the IBO title over three fights. He went on to win British and Commonwealth titles at an higher weight again bantamweight and then as a super-bantamweight ruled domestically, just coming up short in his World and European title cracks.
Booth could decide to shed the pounds and give it another go at bantamweight, there would always be a place in the game for him and nobody would ever deny him a living. But he has paid his dues in boxing and boxing would wave him goodbye with acclaim, always holding the straight up character in high regard. But whatever he decides to do from here-on in, is his choice alone.
In the new champion, Booth has surrendered his title to a real talent. Scott Quigg went out there and rubber stamped what we have known for sometime, that this quiet determined 23 year old from Bury in Manchester, who has steadily built up an unbeaten record, has a special something about him.
Quigg with his old trainer Brian Hughes who has since retired – Pic by BritishBoxers
Quigg learnt his trade at the Collyhurst and Moston Lads Club under the tutor ledge of legendary Manchester boxing coach Brian Hughes. He walked up the stone stairs to the gym above the Co-op, having been an active participant in kick boxing has a kid, he decided to give boxing a go instead, the rest is history.
‘It’s skill that wins you fights at the top level’ is what was drummed into the teenage Quigg by Hughes, who taught him age old defensive boxing moves, cross arm blocking in the style of the tough pugilists of past generations, who could stand in range without taking shots, while getting off there own punches. The fundamentals were drilled into the eager student by the teacher and boxing historian, who had read the same old school boxing scriptures to the other street kids of the past, who had passed through his gym and life for half a century.
After a brief amateur career Quigg turned professional with the blessing and encouragement of Hughes in April 2007 – With a six round points win against Gary Sheil at the Jarvis Hotel in Manchester City centre, Quigg had begun his journey. He went on to have 14 fights in the first two years learning his trade at small hotel shows and leisure centres against an array of boxers who had been around the circuit a few times.
In his 8th fight against Italian Angelo Villani, Quigg tasted the canvas for the first time after getting tagged in the first round. He gathered himself took a knee and an eight count and went on to stop Villani in the next round. Even then Quigg was showing a maturity in his boxing and how he handled seasoned opponents and realising his mistakes, after that visit to the canvas he has not been off his feet since.
In May 2010, Quigg brought boxing back to his home town of Bury, the local council had banned it from taking place for over 15 years. But the town couldn’t ignore this unassuming local star who people were starting to talk about any longer. He had signed with new boxing outfit Hatton Promotions and they had started to showcase Scott and the bigger audience started to sit up.
He blew out Russian Andrey Kostin that night at the Castle Leisure Centre in Bury, which is just a cock stride from his front door. That win brought him wider attention in the local press and boxing was noticing Scott Quigg. That home win was followed by a British title eliminator fight against Gavin Reid, who he stopped in round nine.
Two months after the Reid victory Qiugg was offered the chance to contend the WBA’s vacant Inter-Continental super bantamweight title against Argentinian Santiago Allione back at the Castle. The fans went home happy again and so did Quigg with his new belt after a 3rd round knockout.
After two quick defences of the belt and a WBA world title eliminator fight with Franklin Varela, Quigg’s time had now come to fulfill his No1 British title challenger status and meet the country’s best super-bantamweight and Lonsdale belt holder Jason Booth.
Brian Hughes had contemplated his retirement from boxing for some years, but was given a new lease of life by Quigg and stayed in the game to nurture the skinny gem that had waltzed into his gym one rainy Manchester evening. Hughes had an unshakable belief that Quigg had what it took to make it to the top.
Quigg and Pat Barrett – By BritishBoxers
In 2010 Hughes did eventually decide to call it a day and the trainer and successful author finally left the sport after 50 years. The gyms lease was signed over to another of Hughes prodigies Thomas McDonagh and another gym son Pat Barrett became the chief trainer of Quigg.
Hughes believed Quigg would be the last great fighter that he had brought through and a future world champion, he can retire with contentment for now, Quigg is on course to fulfill the masters philosophy. Quigg says Hughes was a big influence on boxing career and his life. The old man who saw the fire and commitment in him and who’s energy fuelled him to go on them few more years by his side.
Barrett himself a former British, European and World title challenger under Hughes, was always involved with Quigg’s career throughout, but now with Brian stepping down, Barrett would take over the reigns of the gyms top man. The transition of the gym changing hands and Brian leaving didn’t all go smoothly and there are still things that have to be healed. But Barrett took on the role of head coach and Quigg got down to a new start under his new trainer and old friend. Barrett who works to the same principles that he was also taught by Hughes’ guidance worked tirelessly with Quigg in his new role.
But although happy in his familiar environment, around trusted friends and long time companions, Quigg was having doubts about where his own future lay, feeling ‘stale’ he wanted a change.
He came to the decision he would seek pastures new a fresh start at a new gym. He had thought long and hard about it and the strain in leaving his comfort zone and the only boxing surroundings he had ever known was hard to face. But harder still was telling Pat that he wanted to end there partnership. In an emotional meeting in Barrett’s car, the pair hugged, shook hands and Pat wished him well understanding his reasons and said the door would always be open for him.
Quigg felt he had become part of the furniture at the famous Moston gym and felt he wasn’t getting the sparring he needed, now he was entering the world stage. His thought processes had nothing to do with what Barrett offered him. Quigg realised the credentials Barrett brought to the table, the pair were very close and if Hughes was a father figure to him then Barrett was in turn a big brother figure and the other coaches and gym mates blood brothers together in the pain game.
Quigg seeked out another local trainer Joe Gallagher, who had been around Northwest boxing for many years. Working hard and learning his trade, he was now reaping the rewards for his efforts and dedication, with an impressive camp of boxers, bursting with domestic champions and up and coming prospects. Quigg made the flit over the City and joined up with Gallagher, who trains his fighters at Amir Khan’s ‘Gloves Gym’ in Bolton.
Quigg with new coach Joe Gallagher – by Louis Dawson
Gallagher was to take over where Barrett had left off, getting Scott prepared to face the biggest test of his career to date, Jason Booth for the Lonsdale belt. Gallagher set about putting his own mark on Quigg and encouraged him to use more punch volume in his training, three, four, five punch combinations and countering shots, which they felt was the way to beat Booth.
Quigg is super fit and Barrett once said he had to slow him down and on more than one occasion in the past, sent him home from the gym because he was over training. Barrett is a perfectionist in his training techniques and taught Quigg to throw the perfect punches, following through with his shots and not wasting any. Hughes’ tutorledge moulded Quigg into an article with massive potential, Barrett assisted in his progress and Gallagher will now look to put the finishing touches to him and take Quigg to the world title, that was prophesied by Hughes.
Against Booth, Quigg put together all that he had learned along the path that lead him to this point. His unrelenting will and passion to succeed are attributes that cannot be taught and he carries them in abundance naturally. What Quigg does have in his armoury also is a legacy of time experience and dedication ingrained into him by Hughes and Barrett and know what the ambitious Gallagher can take to the next level.
Quigg is still a work in progress and he accepts this with an humble grace, a student and big fan of boxing, he is in control of his destiny and against Booth he produced a faultless performance to dominate the champion without ever needing to go through the gears. It takes a special fighter to do a number on Jason Booth, Quigg did it with interest and really hurt the veteran champion with some text book combinations and vicious body shots and uppercuts.
Quigg is now unbeaten in 23 fights with 18 knockouts and not only finds himself British champion, but also the WBA’s mandatory contender to face world champion Rico Ramos. The domestic scene is also healthy at super-bantamweight and there are some good match ups that can be made with the likes of Rendall Munroe and Carl Frampton.
Gallagher has used the old saying in the past ’20 fights to learn, then 20 fights to earn and this is Quiggs time now, to put all he has learnt in his career to date and from here on in, not only earn a good living from the hardest game of all, but prove to himself and everyone who has helped him along the way, that all the efforts were never in vain.
This kid Quigg is a throw back and can go all the way, he will be very hard to beat and will need nailing to the canvas, such is his pride and desire to be the best and e can clean up at super-bantamweight. – Quigg now intends to take his Lonsdale belt to show Brian Hughes and Pat Barrett soon and share his success with them.
By Chris Maylett
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