Scott Quigg expects a career best performance, ready to target the featherweight elite

By Tom Gray

Not every fighter goes through a change of trainer, but those who do can find it a daunting challenge.

Former WBA junior featherweight titleholder Scott Quigg, from Bury, England, spent almost seven years under the tutelage of acclaimed British coach Joe Gallagher. Both men enjoyed considerable success together and when they eventually did part ways, earlier this year, there was no animosity.

However, Quigg, who is rated No. 9 by THE RING at featherweight, did feel that changes were required and he was willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Over 5000 miles away in Los Angeles, hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach, who Quigg had known for several years, was happy to take over the reins and prepare the former titleholder for a serious assault on the featherweight division.

The fighter grabbed his passport and his boxing gear and ventured to the City of Angels.

With guns reloaded, Quigg returned to the U.K. in April and won a hard fought 12-round unanimous decision over Viorel Simion on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko show at Wembley Stadium. There were some flashes of the power punching that made Quigg a star, but he was too easy to hit at times and not altogether happy with his performance.

“People didn’t really see what Freddie and I had been working on in the Simion fight,” said Quigg in an interview with RingTV.com. “I’d learned so much, but there were still a few bad habits that came out during that fight. We’re not going to get rid of all those habits straight away. You can do it in training because you’re repeating things over and over.

“I always said that I was in a transition period. But in this second camp, we went straight back to work and the things I was having to think about are coming naturally now. We’re moving the feet a bit more and applying educated pressure. The quality of the sparring has been brilliant, we’ve worked hard and I truly believe that you will see the best performance of my career on Saturday.”

The man in the other corner at the swanky Casino De Monte Carlo in Monaco will be Oleg Yefimovych. This Ukrainian export has been a professional for 12 years, but despite his (29-1-2, 16 knockouts) record, he will be moving up several levels for his biggest opportunity.

“He’s 36 years old, so he’s very experienced,” said Quigg, who is seven years younger than his opponent. “He’s a former European champion and he’s unbeaten over the past seven years. Yefimovych does some things well, but I’ve seen things that I can capitalize on. The main thing is, I’ve concentrated on myself and improved my own game. Whatever he brings, I’ll have an answer for it.

“I’m not getting complacent. I’m expecting the best version of Oleg Yefimovych there’s ever been. This is a massive chance for him as well. But I’ve fought people who are better than him and he hasn’t fought anyone as good as me. I need to go in there and win impressively. In boxing, it only takes one punch so you must be switched on at all times.”

Quigg (33-1-2, 24 KOs) is desperate to win a second world title. He would like the winner of the Leo Santa Cruz (WBA holder) and Abner Mares clash, which is mooted for early 2018. He spoke respectfully of Gary Russell Jr. (WBC holder) and mentioned Lee Selby (IBF holder). And, based on prior sparring sessions, Quigg feels that a matchup with Oscar Valdez (WBO holder) would be a “great fight”.

Invariably, however, the conversation turned to Carl Frampton who became the only fighter to defeat Quigg when he outpointed him in a 122-pound unification bout in February 2016. Frampton returns to action on Nov. 18 against Mexico’s Horacia Garcia, and Quigg can empathize with his rival following a recent split from longtime trainer Shane McGuigan.

“Carl has a got a new trainer (Jamie Moore) and he’s going through a transition period too,” said Quigg. “The new things he’ll be trying; maybe some of them will come out in the fight, maybe some of them won’t. To be honest, I’ve not seen much of Garcia. I had a look at his record and I don’t think he’ll be a stumbling block, but Carl has to go out there and do a job.

“He’s doing what he’s doing. I’m doing what I’m doing. I want our paths to cross again and hopefully they will. If they don’t, it won’t be my fault because I want the rematch. I want the fight, but I’m not going to go around begging for it. If the people want it, then I’m sure it can be made. If we both keep winning, then there’s no reason for it not to happen.”

Whether they do cross paths again or not, neither Quigg or Frampton will be short on options at 126 pounds.

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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