AFTER a long and mostly monotonous journey that involved, variously, two trains, a London tube and a Manchester tram, I meet Action Images photographer Craig Brough on a suitably anonymous Bury side street. Together, we eye the humble façade of Scott Quigg’s house. When the host grants us access, our initial presumptions are confirmed. A narrow passageway gives way to a small utility and trophy room on the left then an average-sized lounge directly ahead of us.
Wet clothes are strewn across the radiator – a remnant, Quigg is quick to insist, not of any slovenliness on his mother’s part, but a play fight the previous evening with his 17-year-old sister – while a lively Jack Russell/Pug cross, later identified as Wilfredo (after the legendary Gomez), can be seen through the door that leads into the garden, animatedly jumping up at the barrier blocking his route to home and master. This could be any suburban family home in the North West, little marking out either the quiet road or the property itself as the residence of a reigning ‘world’ champion – the inverted commas are designed to pacify boxing’s raging hardcore fanbase who contend that Quigg’s WBA 118lbs belt is inherently inferior, due to the haunting presence in that division of a Super champion crowned by the same avaricious sanctioning body.
After granting us access, Quigg is away like a whippet, loath to ruin, at the last minute, the healthy lunch he has been preparing. Displaying adroit multi-tasking skills, Scott grills salmon, while simultaneously steaming vegetables and boiling mushy peas.
That Quigg prepares his own meals serves as just one indicator of a compulsive obsession with boxing that precludes friends, fun – at least of the kind that you or I would recognise – and distraction of any kind. The 26-year-old has not tasted alcohol since coming of age, refuses to leave his comfy environs for a game of pool because it necessitates standing up when he would be otherwise horizontal, and is considering employing his mum as ‘Best man’ when he weds long-suffering fiancée Bev, whom he rarely sees during the week. I am in fact lucky to be accommodated at all, as Quigg usually sleeps at this time, fulfilling a need for slumber that his nightly eight hours somehow fail to satisfy. Quigg’s singular focus is at once admirable and alarming. As we recline on the sofa, Scott talking through mouthfuls of his self-made feast, it becomes clear that boxing success is not his primary objective; it’s his only one…