'All I want is big fights': Scott Quigg interview
Former super-bantamweight world champion Scott Quigg tells Shaun Brown he is only interested in the biggest fights at featherweight and would "snap your hand off" to fight Josh Warrington...
Scott Quigg’s (36-2-2, 25 KOs) lifetime dedication to boxing may stand him in good stead while he waits for his next fight.
And in the opinion of the 29-year old, number 39 on the slate has to be a big fight - as do the bouts that will follow.
The former WBA super-bantamweight champion told Boxing Monthly this summer that he is nobody’s opponent (a refusal to be picked as a stepping stone, or to be known as a gatekeeper) but in his two acid tests to date – against Carl Frampton (a 122lbs unification) and Oscar Valdez (WBO featherweight champion) – Quigg has come up short, losing both via decision.
Despite that, Quigg is adamant that only the best and biggest will do from here on in.
“All I want is big fights,” said Quigg. “If not and nothing’s going to whet my appetite then I’ll keep giving 100 per cent every day in the gym. I’ve dedicated my life to boxing so I want the big fights, I believe I’m good enough to get the big fights and win them. It’s up to me now to go out there and prove that.”
“I only want the big fights,” he reiterated.
It sounds like stubbornness, perhaps a refusal to accept his place in the pecking order at 126lbs.
A look at most respected rankings sees Quigg inside the top ten filling one of lower slots (BM currently ranks him tenth). Those above him only have eyes for each other, it seems. Josh Warrington (IBF champion, BM No. 4) vs Carl Frampton (BM No. 2) sounds like it just needs the ink to dry for their fight to happen should ‘The Jackal’ defeat Luke Jackson tomorrow night in Belfast.
WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz (BM No. 1), forever on Frampton’s radar for a rubber match, wants to avenge an amateur defeat to WBC titlist Gary Russell Jr (BM No. 3) in what would be a fascinating unification match-up, while Quigg has already gone toe-to-toe with WBO champion Oscar Valdez (BM No. 5), despite being unable to win the title after showing up nearly three pounds over for the weigh-in due to a foot injury.
As for Welshman Lee Selby (BM No. 9), he appears to be moving north to 130 or even 135lbs after losing his title to Warrington. The options start to look thin beyond that, but it’s a credit to Quigg’s self-belief that he will sit and wait for another big-time opportunity – as he had hoped to get against Frampton, in a rematch, tomorrow night.
“I’m nobody’s opponent but I’ve never made it a secret; I’ve always wanted that rematch,” said Quigg who will likely only get a chance to avenge his loss should, as Frampton informed members of the media weeks ago, he have something that the Northern Irishman wants, such as a world title.
Quigg says he still has time on his side.
“I still think I’ve got 2-3 years in me. I’ve had a lot of fights but only a few have put miles on the clock. I still feel fresh, I’m still as hungry, if not hungrier to get back where I was and prove people wrong. I still feel good training. I can still do what I was doing, as in fitness wise, skill wise… my body’s not falling to pieces.”
Following an ‘amicable’ split from trainer and friend Joe Gallagher after a six-year venture, Quigg packed up his kit and travelled Stateside early last year to install Freddie Roach in his corner. The 58-year-old trainer is no stranger to working with a Brit having trained Amir Khan for four years, helping the Bolton speedster win two world titles while working out of the Wildcard Gym.
“He’s the only guy who works harder than [Manny] Pacquiao,” Roach said of Quigg last April, before his new recruit bested the tried and tested Viorel Simion at Wembley Stadium on the Joshua vs. Klitschko undercard.
Under Roach it has been evident that the most striking change is how much more aggressive Quigg is. A willingness to trade no matter the moment, no matter how the cards are falling. Version one of Quigg was a bit more methodical, looking to break down his opponents to the body, but despite taking more lumps and bumps he says he has improved since the Roach link-up.
“People will say different because the way I’ve been fighting,” he commented. “As people have put it I’ve been bulldozing forward. In the last fight [against Valdez] I couldn’t really help what I did. Before I moved over there, people said I weren’t aggressive enough, were too laid back, tried to box too much, that I’m a pressure fighter.
“Then all of a sudden, I put the pressure on, start throwing more and people say I shouldn’t be doing that! If you put more pressure on you’re going to get hit. You can’t jump in a pool without getting wet. It’s one of them. People have their opinions. I feel like I’m improving. The main thing is I’m enjoying boxing and I’m only enjoying boxing because I feel like I’m improving. There’s still a lot of things I need to work on.
“I believe with going back to the gym working on things I can improve and beat the likes of Frampton and Valdez if I were to ever get the rematches with them. That will always be the aim. You’ve got to improve, and you’ve got avenge the losses and you have to have that desire to want to do that.”
The elephant in the room, or on the phone, should you interview Quigg for the foreseeable is that failure to make weight against Valdez.
The fight: He makes no bones about it, the better man won. A broken nose for the challenger’s troubles too.
Nearly three pounds over at the weigh-in brought furore from the boxing fraternity online and round the camp fire. How? Why? And all the other usual questions that followed.
For the first six weeks his camp could not have gone any better and Quigg believes we would have seen an even better fight than the commendable display that both men gave fans on the night. Quigg remains happy that he fought, no regrets and all that.
But a foot injury sustained during that camp hindered the Brit and frustrated him in his preparations because certain elements of the game-plan had to be thrown out.
Fight fire with fire was the only option.
“I don’t regret taking the fight,” said Quigg. “I still went in believing I was going to win. We changed the tactics of what we were going to do. It was more strength and toughness that I was relying on because I didn’t have the movement in my feet in the ring,
"I was very flat footed. All credit to him he fought a very good fight. I didn’t think he was gonna come out and move as much as he did and box as well as he did. He picked when he wanted to stand, and trade. He boxed a very good fight and credit to him.”
Quigg had hoped to get the call to fight Frampton outdoors tomorrow night but 16-0 Aussie Luke Jackson’s phone rang instead. Josh Warrington is flying over to watch them go to work while he sits back and relaxes, 12 weeks on as a champion. Warrington vs Frampton looks a step closer than ever before. Warrington’s performance against Selby moved him up a level. Not just an opponent for Frampton but a challenge against someone reaching their peak. A 50-50 fight, perhaps?
Quigg disagrees. “I’d still say Frampton beats him and beats him comfortably,” was his assessment to begin with. “Warrington’s improving and the pressure he brings in his work-rate can cause Frampton problems as well. He likes to work at his own pace.
"You’d have to see it as a closer fight than you did before he beat Selby. Up until he beat Selby you’d not seen anything to say that he’s at that level but with the performance he put in you have to say he’d make it a competitive fight.”
As for a Warrington vs Quigg fight: “I’d snap your hand off for the Warrington fight. I believe I beat Warrington.”
Like Quigg said already, he only wants the big fights, and the belief isn’t about to flounder because of two losses and a foot injury.
It’s his job, it’s his life.