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Peter Quillin to return in September; has not fought since only loss 21 months ago

Former middleweight world titleholder "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, out of action since suffering his only defeat, will end a 21-month layoff on Sept. 8.

Brooklyn, New York's Quillin, who is moving up to the super middleweight division, will take on an opponent to be determined in a 10-round fight contracted at 170 pounds maximum, two over the division limit, as he works his way back.

"People think I'm retired," Quillin told ESPN on Wednesday night. "I would have announced if I was retired. But I've gone through a lot. I changed my team. I have some new people in my circle. I needed to make sure I had the time I needed with them. But now I am ready to go and ready to start the second leg of my career."

Quillin has not fought since December 2015, when he suffered a shocking first-round knockout loss to friendly Brooklyn rival Daniel Jacobs challenging for his secondary world title. Quillin lasted only 85 seconds before the referee waved off the fight with Quillin nearly out on his feet and taking heavy punishment.

"I've put it behind me," Quillin said. "We can always pick and choose what we did wrong, but what happened happened. If in the future me and Danny can do a rematch so be it, but that story is the way God intended for me to learn."

The biggest change for Quillin, 34, was parting ways with trainer Eric Brown about 14 months ago and beginning to train with Virgil Hunter, known best for his work with unified light heavyweight titleholder and pound-for-pound king Andre Ward, at his gym outside of Oakland, California. Quillin now spends most of his time in the Bay Area working with Hunter.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to anyone I've worked with before, but being with Virgil, I find he explains things a lot more than I ever had. He's psychologically preparing me. I got a little too comfortable in training. Now I understand it's my job and my lifestyle."

Quillin (32-1-1, 23 KOs) will make his return on the nontelevised undercard of a Showtime card topped by the vacant super middleweight title bout between David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

It's a big change in positions for Quillin, who used to use Benavidez as one of his sparring partners and now is fighting on his undercard.

"I want to move back into the world title line," Quillin said. "So Benavidez is the main event. I've watched him come a long way. He was my sparring partner for a few of my camps. Now I'm on his undercard. I appreciate the journey and what I've learned from the sport. You got to appreciate and understand the journey, but this part is humbling."

Quillin, who sent likely future Hall of Famer Winky Wright into retirement in 2012, won a 160-pound world title later that year by decision against Hassan N'Dam, whom he knocked down six times. Quillin made three defenses but then vacated the belt in 2014 to spend time with his dying uncle and father figure, Eric Munson, rather than be pressed into a mandatory title defense against Matt Korobov despite a purse of nearly $1.5 million on the table.

Quillin returned from a year layoff in April 2015 but failed to make weight for a title challenge against Andy Lee, against whom he fought to a draw. An easy fifth-round knockout of Michael Zerafa followed to get him ready for what turned out to be the disaster against Jacobs.

Quillin said he has no regrets. "I'm very excited to have a destination now, a strategy and know how that I never had before," Quillin said. "I'm excited to put these things to the test."

He is also happy to be moving up in weight after struggling to make 160 pounds in his most recent bouts.

"I've been middleweight since I was 18 years old, and making 160 was becoming a problem," he said. "Behind the scenes I was suffering a lot in my body trying to make the weight. But now I am good in terms of my weight."

During his time away from the ring, his wife Allison gave birth to their second child, a daughter, who is 9 months old. They also have a 3-year-old son, though Quillin has not seen his family as much as he said he would like to because he spends so much time training in California.

"It's hard living here [in the Bay Area] most of the time and trying to balance a family, but we do a lot of FaceTime," he said. "But I feel I am back on track and looking forward to fighting again and continuing my journey."

Author: Dan Rafael, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20512188/peter-quillin-former-middleweight-world-titleholder-returning-september

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