Lee McGregor will be backed by 100-strong ‘Edinburgh invasion’

Lee McGregor is preparing to fight at London's York Hall for the first time. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Lee McGregor is preparing to fight at London's York Hall for the first time. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Bantamweight boxer Lee McGregor has revealed there will an “Edinburgh invasion” at London’s York Hall tonight for his Commonwealth title bout against former Olympian Thomas Essomba.

More than 100 supporters of the IBF world youth champion will descend on the small but historic venue in what will be the Scot’s fifth fight since teaming up with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions last year.

McGregor is one of the hottest prospects in British boxing and is tipped to go far in the sport. His biggest accolade to date was his IBF world youth title triumph in June, a fourth-round stoppage of Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

The 21-year-old Scot, who is also preparing to welcome the birth of his baby daughter next month, says the reception from his travelling fans will ensure he is on song from the first bell. “It’s the first time I will have boxed at York Hall. I’ve been to a few shows and been in the crowd but never been in the ring myself,” McGregor said. “It’s a small venue but I’ve got over 100 people coming down from Edinburgh for the fight so that’s something to look forward to. They’ll make it a great atmosphere.

“Essomba and his manager think this is too soon for me but this is my chance to prove to everyone otherwise. I want to show that I am at this level already. I know I’ll have that opportunity to show it tonight.

“He’s a good fighter and is very strong. He’s a tough man. I’m a young 21-year-old whereas he is a fully grown man so I will need to use my head. He’s got the power to knock me out. But I believe I will break him down eventually but it certainly won’t be like my previous fights where I’ve just blasted them out. I need to be more clever. It might go late but I kind of want that chance to show people exactly what I’m about.”

With the fight being shown live on Channel 5, McGregor, who is a stablemate and compatriot of WBC silver champion Josh Taylor, won’t have a better opportunity to showcase what he’s put into practice with trainer Shane McGuigan for the past ten weeks.

“Camp has been really tough going,” he said. “There’s been extra rounds of sparring, sprints – just everything has been stepped up a notch. I feel the fittest I’ve been.

“I think it is a bit disrespectful to look beyond tonight as this fight isn’t going to be easy. The Hydro may be a possibility next month [Taylor fights American Ryan Martin on 3 November in World Super Series Boxing quarter-final] but we’ll wait and see. If not, I’ll be happy to end the year as Commonwealth and IBF world youth champion.”

Outside the ring things are coming together for McGregor and girlfriend Amber. The couple have recently moved into footballer and childhood friend Jason Cummings’ flat while the former Hibernian striker plies his trade for Peterborough United in Sky Bet League One.

“Amber is due in four weeks,” McGregor added. “I’ve got that extra focus that my wee girl is on the way so I’m looking forward to spending time with her once the fight’s out of the way. Her wee room is all done. It’s quite emotional looking at it. Jason is renting us out the flat so it’s been quite handy. We plan to get our own place soon but we just wanted somewhere for when the baby arrives and we can have it for as long as we want.”