The long awaited debut of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN is nearly here. On Thursday, March 23, Irish middleweight contender Jason “El Animal” Quigley (12-0, 10 KOs) will showcase his skills against the hard-punching Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (23-3, 15 KOs) in a 10-round main event battle for the vacant NABF middleweight title. In the co-main event, Coachella’s Randy “El Matador” Caballero (23-0, 14 KOs) will campaign to become a two-division world champion as he combats for the NABF super bantamweight title against Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz (35-7-5, 24 KOs) in a 10-round affair; and making her pro-debut on the national TV broadcast, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and highly decorated amateur Marlen Esparza will participate in a four-round flyweight fight against Rachel Sazoff (0-2).
The fighters shared their final thoughts ahead the fights, which will air live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
Below is what the fighters had to say:
Jason “El Animal” Quigley, Middleweight Contender:
“I’m delighted to be headlining on ESPN on Thursday; it’s a great honor and opportunity. My camp has been amazing – all the hard work has been put in, and I’m ready. I plan on putting on a great show for my American audience and my friends, family and fans back home in Donegal, Ireland.
“If Tapia wants a war, I’ll give him a war…I’m prepared for anything. Winning this fight brings me one step closer to my dream, winning the NABF title will be fantastic, I still have a long way to go, and am dedicated to making my dream of being a world champion come true.”
Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia, Former WBO NABO Super Welterweight Champion:
“I’m honestly really excited for this fight. Not only because it’s a televised ESPN fight for the NABF title but because it’s been a tough couple of years for my career. People are looking at this like this a make or break fight for me, and even though most people would hate to be in this position, I look at it as an opportunity to bounce back and show the world who Glen Tapia really is!
“I have a lot of fans that believe in me and have been waiting for my return, but I also have a lot of critics that question if I can do this, and that’s a challenge that I’m more than ready to take. My job is not to listen to the critics; my job is to handle my business in that ring and show them why I belong here.At the end of the day, I can sit here and talk about what I’m going to do to Quigley, but the truth is you guys don’t want to hear that. Actions speak louder than words so I’ll just show you guys on March 23rd.”
Randy “El Matador” Caballero,Former IBF World Bantamweight Champion:
“I’m excited to be back in the ring at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. To make it even better I will be co-main event on ESPN. I am so grateful that Golden Boy Promotions is giving the opportunity to show my talents on ESPN.
“As for my opponent I know that he is a tough guy and is coming to win the NABF title. I’m sure this is a dream come true for him. That’s why I need to make sure that I’m 100%.”
Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz, Former WBC FECOMBOX Super Bantamweight Champion:
“I’m feeling very confident because we prepared well. I know we have a tough opponent but we’re ready to come and fight and be victorious come Thursday Night.”
Marlen Esparza, First Female Fighter Signed by Golden Boy Promotions and Former US Olympian:
“Honestly, I just want to get this fight over with! The first fight after a long period of time is the hardest, but my trainer Virgil Hunter has prepared me well to step back in. I know it won’t be the prettiest fight in terms of fighting style, but I need this fight to get back into the Marlen Esparza that was in the Olympics.”
“I feel pretty confident – come fight night, I will be wearing make-up, with my hair done because when I look good, I feel good which makes me fight well. I’m expecting an aggressive fighter, so I’m slowing down my training to just zone out and mentally be there.”
Quigley vs. Tapia is a 10-round battle for the vacant NABF Middleweight title presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate “Born BOLD.” Doors open at 4:00 p.m. PT and the first fight begins at 4:00 p.m. PT. The ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes transmission begins live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. The ESPN3 and WatchESPN App livestream of event will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. PT through 7:00 p.m. PT.