Lee McGregor vs Thomas Essomba

Lee McGregor prepared for tough Essomba assignment

Lee McGregor is fighting for the Commonwealth title in just his fifth professional fight. He speaks to Matt Bevan
Lee McGregor

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LEE McGREGOR believes that being thrown into a Commonwealth title clash in just his fifth fight is a massive show of faith by Cyclone Promotions and he aims to prove them on right on Saturday when he takes on Thomas Essomba for the vacant bantamweight crown at York Hall in London.

The unbeaten 21-year-old, who has compiled a record of 4-0, all by stoppage, is well aware that Essomba will provide him with a stern challenge, but he is prepared for all eventualities, including going the distance for the first time since his switch to the pro ranks last year.

“Lightning” Lee explained to Boxing News: “It’s a huge show of faith and a risk. But, I’ll show everyone that it was the right risk to take and show everyone what I can do by leaving with that Commonwealth title after just five fights.

“Thomas is a tough man and I’ve got to be switched on all the way through. He’ll be there in front of me all fight and I want to make a statement by becoming the first man to stop him and show that I am the level above him.

“I’ve never been the distance and it’s intriguing to see whether I will and how I’ll cope in that situation. I know I’ll just get stronger, but it’s all well and good saying that, I have to show it. This fight is a chance to show my skills and prove that I’m one of the best in Britain.”

With a victory against Essomba, McGregor will then turn his focus to potential all-Scottish derbies at bantamweight, in particular a clash with new British champion Ukashir Farooq, who won the title last month in Glasgow by stopping Jamie Wilson in the first round.

The Edinburgh man was previously due to meet another Scottish bantam Scott Allan last year and is looking forward to some big nights back home across the border, but knows that these fights are only possible if he gets past Essomba on Saturday.

“I’ve got a huge hunger and desire to bring some more big nights to Scotland and the fight with Farooq would be big back home. The Scots always come out for those battles like Alex Arthur and Ricky Burns, so I’m desperate to be a part of one myself,” he said.

“When I win on Saturday, it will open doors and more fights that I would take in a second. I’m fully focused on Saturday, but the opportunities are there if I win.

“I’ve shown my willing when the fight was made with Allan, which would have been just my third fight, so everyone knows I’ll fight anyone at anytime. I know I can beat them all now, but I also want the hard fights which Thomas Essomba will be.

Boxing – Lee McGregor v Goodluck Mrema – SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Britain – June 23, 2018 Lee McGregor celebrates his win against Goodluck Mrema Action Images/John Clifton

“Essomba is a much harder fight than what Farooq had to win the British, so I’ll be much better off when that fight eventually happens. It’s one year on from when I switched over from the amateurs and I was told at the time it was a stupid decision.

“I’ve proven those people wrong and I’m already fighting for big titles, whereas I could have been at the Commonwealth Games this year and ended up getting injured or losing a bad decision, so I’d be coming home empty handed. I’m delighted with my decision and it’s onwards and upwards from here.”