IT was a year that started with frustration but ended in fantasy land for Bury’s Scott Quigg who goes into 2014 as a world champion boxer.
The 25-year-old has crammed a lot into the past 12 months, boosting his credentials in the ring while handing a gold one out to long-term girlfriend Beverley for their engagement and being granted the Freedom of his hometown away from his day job – not to mention switching on the festive lights at the Mill Gate shopping centre.
The end of the year and an explosive second-round knockout of Argentine Diego Silva has now propelled Quigg towards big New Year clashes that could include a unification bout with IBF world super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez or a ‘battle of Britain’ clash with Belfast’s Carl Frampton.
It is all a far cry from 12 months earlier when Quigg’s career looked to be stalling.
After winning the interim WBA world super-bantamweight belt in a rematch against Rendall Munroe, he had to wait a whole eight months to get back in the ring.
He switched promoters from Ricky Hatton to Eddie Hearn and that quickened his return.
Quigg told Bury Times: “The year didn’t start off too well for me. I was inactive and not fighting.
“I switched promoters and did not get in the ring until June.
“Since then, I have become a world champion so you have to say it has been the best year of my life because I have achieved my goal.
“I have improved as a boxer – even in the time I was out of the ring, I was in the gym getting better and better.”
Quigg’s comeback in June saw him knockout Brazil’s William Prado in the third round at Bolton Arena after a late switch of venue following the postponement of David Haye’s scheduled clash with Manuel Charr in Manchester – something that would repeat itself for Quigg later in the year.
It was an impressive display by the Bury boxer and set up a clash with Cuban Yoandris Salinas.
Again, the bout was switched after another Haye postponement – this time after a training injury halted the eagerly-awaited clash with Tyson Fury.
It meant Quigg and his fans making the trip to London’s O2 Arena for a first defence of the WBA belt handed to him prior to the clash.
This would be less straight-forward for Quigg but he boxed smart against a tough opponent in a fight that went the distance before he held on to his title with a majority draw.
Just seven weeks later and it was the biggest bout to date for Quigg against Silva as chief support at a packed Phones4U Arena in Manchester before the Carl Froch v George Groves classic.
And what a superb display he gave in front of a supportive home crowd to end his year on a high and earn him the perfect early Christmas present.
Not one to stay out of the gym for too long, Quigg intended to take some time out over Christmas but is already planning for an even bigger 2014.
He added: “Putting a good performance on recently has made it a terrific year.
“I will have a break for two weeks or so but start intense training pretty soon afterwards.
“I will do some light training beforehand because I get bored not being in the gym. I want my next fight as early as March.
“I already have my best present and that was making sure the belt stayed at my house for Christmas Day.”
This northern star is certainly on the rise.