Historic kickboxing show in St Columb’s

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DERRY KICKBOXER, Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley could be forgiven for hanging up his gloves with a smile and an immense sense of accomplishment having been crowned the new ISKA heavyweight champion of the world at St Columb’s Hall last Saturday night.

SIMON COLLINS reports

However the ambitious two-time world professional kickboxing champion believes his latest, historic achievement in the sport is merely the beginning of what’s certain to be an illustrious career.

Having dominated the Cruiserweight division following his world title victory over Wayne Turner at the Clanree Hotel in 2008, ‘Pinta’ opted to raise the stakes and challenge Frenchman, Pacome Assi for the vacant International Sport Kickboxing Association 96 kilos title in the unusual surroundings of the Orchard Street venue.

And having been tested to the maximum during 12 ferocious rounds, the talented Derry man unleashed undoubtedly his best performance to ensure a well deserved unanimous points victory in front of almost 1,000 screaming supporters.

And immediately after his hands were raised aloft as the new heavyweight champion of the world, Pinta turned his attentions to his next challenge, and welcomed the idea of a rematch with Assi in his hometown of Paris.

“I have no problem fighting him again if he wants,” insisted the Derry man. “I would love to make a real name for myself in the sport and a true champion and travel to France, in front of his home crowd and put the title on the line, I’m up for it.

“We’ll now move on to better and bigger things. We’ll not be looking back, we’ll just keep looking forward.

“I’ll enjoy the night and celebrate for a while until it sinks in and then next week I’l get back in the gym and go straight back at the training again.”

It was a remarkable achievement for the 25 year-old local Fitness Instructor as he became the first Irish man to hold the heavyweight title, but he was taken the distance for the first time in his career and was made to work extremely hard for the win.

Indeed, the ring-craft and relentless, powerful kicks to the body from the Frenchman left their mark on the Paddy Toland trained kickboxer. but his superior conditioning and adventurous game-plan paid dividends in the end.

“It was a battle, it’s the first time I’ve ever went 12 rounds,” admitted Quigley. “I’ve been out every morning training for the 12 rounds and thankfully all the hard work has paid off in the end.”

The hard-punching Pinta appeared to be struggling in the middle rounds but he bounced back with the help of the boisterous home support and finished with a aplomb.

“In the second round he hit me with a cracking shot to the ribs and it shook me,” said Quigley. “I went into the corner after the round and Paddy (Toland) said to me; “Is that the best he’s got to offer?”, because he didn’t put me down.

“He’s a powerful kicker but I stuck to my game-plan and my training paid off for me. I’m in the shape of my life and all those mornings where everyone else is lying in their beds at 6 a.m., I’m out training and it’s proved to be worth every bit of effort.”

“I think there was a stage in the fifth round where I just needed something extra, I needed a bit of a life and I turned to the crowd and lifted my arms and they responded. There was about 900 people roaring at me and just the buzz I got from that pushed me on. There’s no feeling like it in the world.

“I’m so happy I did the club proud. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes, my sparring partners, Tommy (McCafferty) and Aiden (Lafferty) who both did excellent on the night, Natalie McCarron and everyone involved at the club.

“The technique that Paddy teaches us at the club worked wonders in the fight. It’s such a great club and we now have two double world champions in myself and Tommy McCafferty and a Commonwealth champion in Aidan Lafferty. No other club in the world has the same credentials.”

Also on the night fellow Derry man, Aidan “Lights Out” Lafferty won the ISKA Commonwealth light-middleweight title with victory over Steve Freeman (Eclipse Gym Wolverhampton) who retired in his corner at the end of the third round.

There was also success for reigning ISKA middleweight and light middleweight champion, Tommy McCafferty who recorded a knock-out win in round two against Nouridinne Gahjji of France.

There was also eight thoroughly entertaining amateur bouts on the bill which resulted as follows - Damien Duddy (Pt’s, Carrigan’s) defeated Nathan Young (Bulldogs, Lurgan); Kevin Sheehan (Pt’s was held to a draw by Paul Murnaghan (Bulldogs, Lurgan); Ronnie Brennan (Pt’s Bishop’s Street) won a unanimous decision over Dillan McKay (Thurles Gym); Liam Roberts (PT’s Bishop Street) fought an exibition with Doobs Dunleavy (Glasgow Street Gym); Dereck Walker (PT’s Letterkenny) won a unanimous decision over Josh Horton (Leicester Kickboxing Gym); Pete McCafferty (Glasgow Street) fought an exibition with John Crawford of (PT’s Leterkenny); Dee Roberts won a unanimous decisIon over Jason Fox (Bulldogs Lurgan); Michael Dunne (Pt’s The Glen, Derry) lost to Stevie McElroy (Bulldogs Lurgan).