Scott Quigg may have his work cut out in his Super-Bantamweight showdown with Carl Frampton, according to the Bury boxer’s former amateur trainer.
Mick Jelley worked with WBA champion Quigg for four years, helping him make the transition from 15-year-old kickboxer to 19-year-old pro.
Now the 27-year-old has defended the title he won back in 2012 six times, most recently in a devastating performance against the experienced Kiko Martinez last July, who he knocked out in just two rounds.
But Belfast boy Frampton, the 29-year-old IBF champ who has won all of his 29 fights, will mark a significant step-up in class for the Bury fighter, and enters the fight as the bookies favourite, despite struggling to a points decision in the second of his own fights with Martinez in 2014.
— Scott Quigg (@scottquigg) February 20, 2016
And 72-year-old coach Jelley said that the Martinez fight was not an accurate indicator of form, and admitted that the clash on Saturday 27 is impossible to predict.
“Scott smashed Martinez, but he could have been smashed himself,” he told MM.
“In that first round he was rocking and reeling, it was touch and go.
“Frampton is good, they’re both good.
“I’m not a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on it. Because there are two lads going in there that both want to be world champion, and they’re both going to give 100%.
“I just hope that Scott comes through on the night.”
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has hyped the fight as being bigger than the two showdowns between Carl Froch and George Groves which gripped the nation in 2013 and 2014, and the build-up has been marked with what seems to be a genuine dislike between the pair and their camps.
Despite being a world champion for nearly four years, Quigg has been one of the country’s lower profile belt holders, and interest in the fight far exceeds anything that Quigg will have faced before.
— Joe Gallagher (@gallaghersgym) February 16, 2016
And Jelley warned that his old pupil will need to focus on keeping his head, and not trying to blow his rival out early.
“Some lads have the brains but they haven’t got the fitness, Scott’s the opposite way around,” he said.
“I would say, not being harsh, but his fitness level and everything, he’s got more of that than he has got brains.
“What Scott has got going for him is that he’s a workaholic. He trains, trains, trains, and he always has done since he did his kickboxing.
“His fitness level and commitment is what he’s good at.”
Quigg will need all his fitness and commitment – and more than a little brains – if he is to overcome this latest challenge.
Frampton’s higher profile in the sport led to him making a Stateside debut in his last fight, although he failed to impress in beating Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, leaving him with something to prove in Manchester.
If Quigg was to win he would surely see his own status in the sport rocket.
Make sure you tune in tonight
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— Scott Quigg (@scottquigg) February 23, 2016
Regardless of how the fight ends though, Jelley insisted that he is ‘a good kid’ who should be proud of his achievements, after transforming from a youth who ‘caused havoc’ at Bury Leisure Centre, to having the opportunity to unify two world title belts.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“Scott’s great grandma and grandad used to have the chip shop on the corner of my street where I live, and they’d have been so proud of him. They’d have been both absolutely over the moon with what he’s achieved.
“If you ask a lot of people where he went to school and at Bury Leisure centre where he used to go as a kid and play up all the havoc – that lad has done so much for himself and helped himself and I’m proud of just putting a little bit in to that.
“I’ve had arguments with him and his dad, we didn’t see eye to eye on some things but I think he’ll always remember where he started off.
“But with boxers you just become a family, every lad that comes in here is family.
“And look what he’s achieving now, he’s just done brilliant for himself.”
Image courtesy of Adam Booth, with thanks.