Ambitious McGregor hopes to emulate great Scots Buchanan and Taylor after dark times

Scottish super bantamweight Lee McGregor returns home to Edinburgh this Friday after an openly turbulent 18 months. 

The 26 year old was one of the UK’s most exciting fighters on course for world honours after winning the Commonwealth, British and European titles within just nine fights. 

“I made my debut here on Josh Taylor’s undercard when he fought Miguel Vazquez.” McGregor said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I actually used to fight in this Arena as an amateur, this is my old amateur gym, Meadowbank. Not [been here] since they built the new stadium, but I’m excited for Friday.”

McGregor (12-0-1, 9 KOs) takes on Mexico’s Erik Robles Ayala (13-1, 9 KOs) for an IBO strap at the Meadowbank Sports Centre ready to get back on track to where he was predicted to be going. And back at home, a place he missed during a turbulent period. 

“You dream about this as a kid.” McGregor continued. “I’m living my dream, headlining live on Channel 5 for a world title in my hometown, it doesn’t get any bigger, it doesn’t get any better. I’ve sacrificed my whole life for this, we are finally here and I’m excited.”

Edinburgh has produced world champions such as Alex Arthur, Josh Taylor and the late Ken Buchanan has been immortalised with his own statue at the top of Leith Walk. McGregor was on course to join these prestigious names of the city until a stall in action disrupted his rapid rise.

“Chapter 1 in my career is now closed.” McGregor explained. “I became British and European champion at such a young age, this is now a new chapter. I’m going to go on and I think Friday night is the beginning of becoming a star like these guys. If I come through on Friday night I am well on course to be doing that. This is why I am in this sport, to become a legend, to create a legacy, I want to have a statue, I want to bring big time boxing back to Edinburgh. I need to keep on doing it and I need to keep on achieving. I don’t want to just be a world champion, I want to be a multi-weight world champion. Edinburgh has been starved of big nights and big fights for a while now. I would love to build myself here and fight at home.

“I’ve found myself in a dark place these past 18 months. I achieved so much so early on, things just happened and I found myself in a bad place. I have found it really difficult, I’ve been away from my family for a long time and kept out of the ring. I have been inactive.”

McGregor defeated Vincent Legrand in his first defence of his EBU title. The difficult period followed on from there as he awaited a world title shot.

“There have been a lot of frustrations.” McGregor explained. “You couldn’t have written it, I was probably the unluckiest fighter out there. The rematch with Kash Farooq was signed and it was going to be at The Hydro in Glasgow, the anticipation due to the first fight was huge, it was life changing profile wise, financially wise. That got ripped away from me due to nothing but bad luck. I was looking to be set for life. Then fast forward 18 months and I’m struggling to manage the mortgage for the house that I just managed to buy because of the Farooq fight. 

McGregor clicked his fingers. “It can be taken away from you just like that! Now I am just taking each fight as it comes and taking it step by step. I will leave it all in the ring on Friday night, then we will sit down and decide what is next after that.”