Lee McGregor: British crown can propel me towards Olympics

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Rising boxing star Lee McGregor believes a third British title success in Cardiff this weekend will leave him in a position to challenge for an Olympic Games berth in Tokyo in three years time.

The Scottish 56kg champion has all but secured his seat on the plane for next year’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, but the Meadowbank fighter is desperate to go one better and represent Team GB when the Olympics gets under way in the Far East in summer 2020.

For the time being the 20-year-old is hoping to defend his British title on Saturday night should he come through Friday’s semi-final bout unscathed. Englishman Louis Lynn and Welsh duo Joshua John and Kyle Morrison stand in his way of being crowned the country’s top boxer in the 56kg weight division.

McGregor is already enrolled on Team GB’s Podium Potential Squad and trains regularly at their English Institute of Sport base down in Sheffield. And although his focus is firmly on the next 12 months that is likely to see him challenge for both European and World gold before next April’s Commonwealth Games Down Under, the thought of representing GB in Japan is one that is never too far away.

“My focus is firmly on the Gold Coast and then we’ll just take things from there, but I believe I am good enough to go to the Olympics,” McGregor told the Evening News. “I need to be wise and just take it step by step. I’ve got a lot of things in front of me over the next year like the European and World Championships, as well as training camps abroad too. Then before we know it the Commonwealth Games will be here so I can’t really look too far ahead. But it’s something I’m really keen to do so I can only beat what’s put in front of me between now and then.”

Looking too far in the distance is something McGregor cannot afford with his British title on the line in the Welsh capital this weekend. However, having defended his Belgrade Winners title earlier this month with a trio of impressive victories en route to securing gold, he can make the trip south as the man to beat.

Recalling his triumph in Serbia that culminated in a points win over German Omar El Hag in the final ten days ago, McGregor said: “I had three brutal fights over in Belgrade and was one of the hardest tournaments I’ve boxed in. I didn’t think I could get much tougher than [Carlos] Rocha in the first round but it just got harder and harder as the weekend wore on. My body was in bits. But it was good experience with the European and World Championships coming up before the Commonwealth Games next year. The whole team were brilliant and we ended up getting the ‘Team of the Tournament’ award so to win three golds, one silver and two bronze is a really good effort and great for Scottish boxing.”

McGregor continued: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’ve already fought and beaten Joshua John but I like fighting people I don’t really know too much about as I think it brings the best out in me. I believe I can win it again, I’m certainly going down to win it.

I haven’t lost in Britain since 2013 and even then I was a young boy and that was on club shows when I took fights at the last minute.

It’s good to be your national champion but there’s nothing better than being the number one in Britain. In the time I’ve entered the Scottish and British Senior Championships I’ve never lost so I plan on keeping that run going.”