FEW professional boxers ever get to preside over a seven-year undefeated record. Most, though, also don’t have to wait five-and-a-half years between their sixth bout and their seventh.

It had initially unfolded promisingly for Grant Quigley after he turned over in 2015, the light-heavyweight winning his first half-dozen contests, three by way of stoppage. Then it started to unravel, with a raft of cancelled contests leading to a loss in motivation and ultimately the tough decision to step away from the sport. A spell working offshore also put paid to any prospect of an imminent comeback for the Port Glasgow fighter.

Quigley admits he had no regrets in the early days about turning his back on the sport but as the years wore on, the desire to return to the ring grew stronger. He hooked up again with long-time trainer Kenny Crighton and former manager Iain Wilson with a view to making a comeback, only for more postponed bouts – including one last month – to again leave him frustrated.

All being well, though, he will finally pull back on the gloves for the first time since October 2016 as part of the St Andrew’s Sporting Club’s tribute night to Kash Farooq and Quigley is determined to make the most of his second chance.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said the 27-year-old who now works as a scaffolder at the Ferguson’s shipyard, just five minutes from his home in Inverclyde. “I’ve had a few comeback dates pencilled in including one last month when my opponent pulled out at short notice. Before that I had a shoulder injury which set me back a bit.

“It did get to a point where you began to wonder if it was ever going to happen. It was as if someone or something was telling me not to get back in the ring! But I’ve stuck at it and it’s been a good test of character.  

“I think if I had suffered all these setbacks the first time around it would have been enough for me to call it a day. But being away for a few years made me realise how much I missed it. And so every time a fight’s been called off it’s not fazed me. I’ve just kept going to the gym and plugging away knowing my time would come. And now, fingers crossed, it looks like I’m finally getting that comeback fight.”

Having the familiarity of working with Crighton at the Port Victoria Boxing Club has helped Quigley get quickly back into his stride, as has reuniting with Wilson.

“When I was away from boxing, Iain used to phone me to see how I was doing and whether I wanted to come back. So it was good to know that was on the table in case I ever decided to get back into it.

“Eventually I felt it was time. There wasn’t any one particular moment or a particular turning point, just a feeling growing that I was missing the thrill of it all. I also felt that I hadn’t really fulfilled my potential the first time around.

“I wanted to come back and test myself and see how far I can go. I want to be in against hard opposition and hopefully get some titles along the way.”

He believes he returns to the ring a more rounded and mature individual, learning valuable life lessons along the way.

“I was quite young when I gave up, maybe 21 or 22. I was quite immature in a lot of ways. I was still quite into the partying lifestyle, going out drinking and my mindset wasn’t in the right place. I wasn’t dedicated enough and more interested in other things. My head wasn’t right and I was just kidding myself on. I fell out of love with boxing for a while.

“Plus I had the big worry about wanting to advance my scaffolding career. I was at an age where I wanted to get money together for a deposit for a house so I decided to go offshore to work to give myself a start in life.

“It wasn’t that hard to give up boxing at that time. I didn’t really think about it. It was only a year or two after that that I started to miss the big nights and the adrenaline rush you get when you’re working towards a goal.

“I feel when I turned pro I was still a boy and I’m coming back to the sport as a man. I’m more mature and settled, I’m married with a baby on the way. I’ve grown up a lot and I’m more focused now. I said I would only come back if I was going to give it 100 percent and I’m definitely going to do that now.”