Scott Quigg will get an opportunity to gatecrash the featherweight elite when he challenges Oscar Valdez for his WBO crown on 10th March at the Stubhub Arena, Los Angeles. The 9st division houses some of boxing’s most talented fighters and this potential barnburner figures to have a big impact on who will eventually emerge as the “main man”.
Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KO’s) has had three fights at the weight since losing his WBA super-bantamweight title to rival Carl Frampton, who also moved up after the fight, splitting two fights with WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz. In each one he has steadily improved and settled in to the heavier weight, as evident in his last fight, a sixth round stoppage of Oleg Yefimovych. A gruelling twelve round decision over Viorel Simion preceded that, preparing him for the kind of battle that Valdez may well bring.
The pair know each other well, having sparred at the Wild Card Gym under the watchful eye of Quigg’s now trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach. Both men will know what to expect from the other when the first bell rings. Quigg was no doubt a keen observer in Valdez last defence when he went to war with Genesis Servania, surviving a fifth round knockdown, before earning a hard fought decision. It showcased both his strengths and possible vulnerability, the latter being something that Quigg would look to take full advantage of.
The man from Bury fights in an aggressive, pressure manner, working both the head and body as attempts to grind down his opponent. But he also possess more than decent power. Three of his five title defences ended inside of three rounds, including his highly impressive second round triumph over Kiko Martinez, and he had Frampton looking uncomfortable during the second half of their fight. Roach has been working on getting him to place and select his punches whilst maintaining his natural instincts. And as the best in the business, Roach knows exactly just how to do this.
Quigg has been molded by three of boxing’s established trainers, firstly Brian Hughes, then Joe Gallagher, and now Roach. Coming from a Muay Thai background, he had only 12 amateur bouts (10 wins 2 losses) before switching to the paid code. By living an almost monistic lifestyle, he has developed in to a world champion and exciting fighter, capable of troubling and pushing the best to the limit. Will this be enough against Valdez? Who knows.
Opinion is divided between either Santa Cruz or WBC champion Gary Russell as to who leads this deep division. Following closely on their heels are IBF champion Lee Selby, Valdez, Frampton, Abner Mares, Joseph Diaz Jr and Josh Warrington too. Put any of them together and the featherweights offer up some tremendous, mouthwatering match-ups. Chuck in Quigg and you have guaranteed entertainment.
The loss to Frampton hurt Quigg deeply. Losing doesn’t sit well with him, as it doesn’t the majority of fighters. That fire will spur him on against Valdez and win, lose or draw, Valdez will certainly be reminded of just how tough and relentless his opponent is. Because Quigg is coming for that title. And no matter what the bookies say, he has only one thought in his mind: To win.