Meadowbank amateur boxer Lee McGregor is ready to put down a marker as he prepares to fly out to Croatia tomorrow for the European Youth Boxing Championships.
The 17-year-old British champion is part of a six-man team that will represent Scotland in Zagreb.
Aspiring to add a European medal to a long list of national accolades, McGregor is also prepping for his step up to the senior circuit when he turns 18 at the end of the year.
And, having reached the decision to move up to the 52kg weight category (flyweight), the Edinburgh City Council worker aims to show his rivals just what to expect when he steps into the ring as a senior come January.
“I’ve kept on growing so I just can’t do 49 kilos any more,” McGregor explained. “I was draining myself trying to keep the weight off so I spoke to my coaches and we’ve decided to step it up to 52.
“I was down at an army camp in Aldershot a couple of weeks ago and I was sparring with Ashley Williams, who won bronze for Wales at the Commonwealth Games and the coach said it was the best he has ever seen me spar.
“I’ve also been sparring with two Scottish boys, who fought at Glasgow 2014 – Aqeel Ahmed and [bronze medallist] Reece McFadden, pictured, – in preparation for the Europeans, but obviously I’m going to be competing against McFadden when I move up to the seniors in a couple of months.
“I want to show people that I fight at my best at this weight and that’s what I am aiming to do.”
The teenager has already tasted success at 52kg after being selected to box in Scotland’s landslide victory over England in London last Monday. However, having enjoyed unprecedented success as a youth pugilist, McGregor wants to go out in Zagreb with one final bang and bring home a European medal.
“I had my first fight last week and I boxed really well,” he said. “I won, so I feel just as strong now as I ever have so it’s the best thing I’ve done.
“This will be my last youth tournament so I want to go out on a high before making the move up to the senior side of things. I think we’ve got a strong squad going out there so I know we can do well. I want to bring home a medal for sure.
“It is going to be a lot harder and the boys are going to be a lot stronger than what I have faced before. But that doesn’t faze me and I just can’t wait to get out there.”
Having soaked up the atmosphere of Glasgow 2014, McGregor is already plotting his way to a spot with Team Scotland and the next Commonwealth Games in Australia in four years.
He added: “I was part of this team called ‘The Young Achievers’ who stayed through in Glasgow for a week and got a taste of it. We got to go around the athletes village and watch the boxing as potential competitors for 2018.
“I’m at the top level now and I just want to keep going. The Gold Coast is my main target but I’m just going to take things one at a time.
“It’s a long way off but I have to keep aiming high.”