During the coronavirus crisis, some sports stars around the globe have dropped their guard where dieting is concerned.
Life in lockdown has opened a door for those at the top of their game to indulge in their favourite delicacies normally limited to the off-season.
However, that hasn’t been the narrative of British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion Lee McGregor, who is only hours away from a return to the ring for the first time since his gargantuan triumph over compatriot Kash Farooq in November.
The 23-year-old, from Edinburgh, is hoping to chalk up his ninth consecutive win as a pro against London’s Ryan Walker – behind closed doors – at Wakefield’s Production Park Studios.
The MTK boxer, who provided a negative Covid-19 test upon his arrival in West Yorkshire on Monday, is convinced his endeavours not to succumb to temptation will pay off with a career-best performance.
“I’ve seen and read about so many other sports men and women having just enjoyed the time off, eating and doing as they please during lockdown, but that’s not me,” explained McGregor, who is not putting up a defence of his titles tonight. “I’ve used the last few months to do things I hadn’t done before training-wise. I’ve been running half marathons as normally when I’m in training camp, I don’t get that opportunity because I’ve got a structured training plan that I need to stick to so I don’t have the time.
“I thought I’d use the time to my benefit and build my engine and do something that I hadn’t done before. I really enjoy running that longer distance. I’m a good runner. I genuinely prefer doing a half marathon to a 5k. When we do a 5k it’s proper lung-bursting stuff where you run as fast as you can. But I get a good second wind running over a longer distance, just like in my fights.
“This is the first time I’ve also had a nutritionist on board. Oh my God, the things I was doing in the past – it’s really opened my eyes. Right now I’d normally be feeling horrendous prior to stepping on to the scales. I’ve always trained 100 per cent and not cut any corners but the diet side of things is something that I’ve not really known a lot about up until now. So there have been good things to come from lockdown. It’s obviously been frustrating because it’s delayed my plans for this year but, at the same time, it’s afforded me the time to focus, learn and really find out a lot more about myself.”
McGregor revealed he also spent a week’s hard graft in Fuerteventura training alongside WBA and IBF super lightweight world champion Josh Taylor and Billy Joe Saunders.
“Everything has gone up a notch and I’m in a really good place,” he said. “Usually eight to ten weeks is enough for a training camp but I’ve been in top gear for 14 or 15 weeks. Being home has been great for me too. I went back to my amateur gym, I had access to Hutchie Vale’s facilities and I’ve had the comfort of seeing my family, so everything has been spot on. I know it’s something I won’t get to do a lot in my career and that I will have to move away to prepare for fights in the future.
“I cannot afford any slip-ups tonight. I’m already Commonwealth and British champion so European and then world champion is what I believe is next. I’m ranked No 2 in Europe so I’m knocking on the door. I want to win and win well (against Walker) and then ideally I can defend my belts before the end of the year.”
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