Lightning Lee McGregor announced that he will be taking on former Scottish Champion Scott “Title Taker” Allan on the undercard of the “Scotland’s Finest” bill at the SEE Hydro on 3rd March in what will be a big step up for the exciting and popular bantamweight prospect. Big expectations have already been set for Lee by both himself and Cyclone promotions. Barry McGuigan has already stated that he thinks he could be British Champion this year, some statement for a fighter who has only had two professional fights so far.
We sat down to talk about this and his upcoming fight after a training session at his London base.
Scott Allan is a good fight and one that should certainly go much further than your previous two fights which have only gone three rounds between them?
“Yes, people will look at this fight and maybe think this is quite a risk but it just shows the belief we have in this team and in myself. I’m looking forward to finally fighting someone who is going to come and try to win as that’s when the best will come out of me. When you are fighting guys who are basically there to survive it’s hard to look good and I think I’ve done a not bad job so far. Someone who is coming to try and beat me and commit to shots, that’s when I will be at my best and people will see what I can do.”
How much do you rate Scott and what would you say his strengths and weaknesses are?
“I’ve never sparred with him but I’ve been in his company, I don’t really know a lot about him. I have seen some of his previous fights and he’s always got a lot to say. I’m quite interested to see how he is going to act with me as I think I’m quite respected by other Scottish boxers and he has always shown quite high respect for me. He messaged me before the Kash (Farooq) fight wanting me to spar him but I didn’t like the way he was speaking about Kash. I get on well with Kash and helped him out with sparring for the first fight against Scott. I told Scott to speak to my coaches at the time but I had no intention of helping him because of the way he spoke about Kash, I didn’t agree with the way he went about it. If he has asked me for sparring then he must rate me, I think he will be excited about this fight as it’s a good chance for him to get back into the mix having lost to Kash twice. It’s a good opportunity for both of us and the winner goes on to bigger and better things.”
“Scott is definitely fit, he gets himself in good shape he will train hard and is a strong guy. I’ve not seen much of him to be honest so I don’t know what to expect but I’m not bothered about what he is going to bring. I’m more concerned about what I’m going to bring and I think it will be too much. I think I’m too big, too fit, too strong and too fast. I think I’m going to be the better boxer on the night and its one that has got me excited. With it being an Edinburgh V Glasgow rivalry it will make it a bit better and will be live on TV so there is no better platform for me to show my skills
“It’s going to be an eight-rounder so in that respect, it’s a big jump up for me as I’ve never been past two rounds so far and he has advantages if you look at it on paper. Anyone who knows what we can both do though will probably fancy me. It’s a total step up for me and a different experience fighting in front of 4,000 or 5,000 people. It will be my first time at the Hydro so I’m really looking forward to it and I’m glad that’s me done with journeymen. It’s time for me to crack on now and we have big plans for this year.
“Cyclone has done their bit getting the fight, now it’s time for me to do my bit and prove that I belong and I deserve to be fast-tracked to the bigger fights. They have told me they want to bring me through in a similar way to what they have done with Josh Taylor and push me hard.”
Lee was a standout amateur and talked me through the highlights of his amateur career.
“For the level I was boxing at as an amateur I was up against guys who were top class and had 300 fights or so whereas I only had around 40 fights. I boxed at the highest level, I was 3 times GB champion (2 senior, 1 youth) every Scottish or British Championship competition I entered I won. The last time I lost in Britain was 2013 on a hometown show which was a nip and tuck fight. I went to the world championships and got beat by the Japanese guy who lost to the eventual winner. My biggest stand out was probably beating the current European champion at last year’s championships as he was a high-class boxer or becoming the British Champion.”
Lee himself and Barry Mcguigan have both mentioned targeting the British Title this year; I was keen to know if that was a genuine goal.
“I believe I would win the British Title right now and could beat Josh Wale, it’s just about earning my shot and proving I’m ready.”
Standing in his way could be the man he helped out with sparring for the Scott Allan fight; Kash is the mandatory challenger for the belt. How would he feel if it was Kash he had to go up against?
“Honest to god I do not have a bad word to say about Kash, I have done so many rounds with him in the past and he is a great fighter. If he does fight Josh Wale then I think he beats him but I would still take the fight against him in a minute as it’s just business, and if he has what I want then I’d have to fight him. If I can deal well with Scott Allan and look good then who knows what it could set up. If I’m using my brain and thinking what would be best for me then I think Josh Wale might be more game to fight me but if Kash has that title then he’s going to have to be prepared for me to come chasing him.”
In terms of the difference Lee has noticed in himself since turning pro he was quick to praise his trainer Shane Mcguigan.
“Shane reckons I’m only about 30% of the fighter I’m going to be. I started training with Shane in September and I can’t believe how much better I am already. He’s improved my power and the way I punch. I didn’t think a coach could have that much impact on a fighter and make that much of a difference. That’s not taking anything away from anyone else I’ve worked with as my amateur coaches John McCarron and Peaj did absolutely amazing for me and brought me on so much. In the professionals, it’s just a different game than the amateurs. The way my power is coming on and my body punches are improving, I’m an all-round better fighter so if Shane is saying I’m only at 30% then that’s exciting to hear from someone like that.”
Lee had many options to choose from last year and he opened up on his decision to join Cyclone.
“I had no intentions of turning professional as I was almost guaranteed to be at the Commonwealth Games this year. I’d had a few offers but nothing to turn my eye. I got a message from Barry we spoke and he asked if I would come down to do a session with Shane and then talk. I always listen to my Dad as he plays a big part of my life and he has always said with other offers not to take them and that the only one that would turn his eye would be Barry due to the work he was doing with Josh. We went down along with my brother Connor and it just clicked when I was doing pads with Shane straight away. They made an offer and I had always remembered the night of the O’Hara Davies fight as I went as a fan. I was thinking how amazing the atmosphere was and I thought I wanted to be a part of that and would regret it if I didn’t do it.”
So, would he have any regrets when the Commonwealth Games is on?
“I’m going to have to make sure I’m busy come April when the games are on so I can have something to focus on. If I can win that British Title this year I will be so happy as I couldn’t have done that if I had decided to go to the games and those are the things you are remembered for when it’s all done.”
It’s a big change of lifestyle for a young man moving down to London, Lee, however, has adapted well and gave a little insight into his routine.
“I’m down here and go home every other weekend. I share a flat with Josh (Taylor) & Chris (Billam – Smith) we play a bit of darts and Josh is pretty good, it’s between him and Chris who’s best. I’ve been wanting to get a game of football with them as I’m pretty good at that. We are almost always in the gym so we don’t have time to be untidy and our meals are taken care of so it’s a great set up.”
Finally, Lee went on to discuss the sparring he has been doing recently and admitted he’s been in with bigger guys.
“I’m sparring some heavy guys, people who are super lightweight so if I can take the punches from the bigger guys then I should be able to take the ones from people in my weight class and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do on March 3rd.”
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