Having a former world champion as one of his mentors has got Meadowbank amateur Lee McGregor dreaming of stardom.
The teenage boxer, who only took up the sport in 2012, is now regarded as one of Scotland’s brightest prospects having been rewarded with a place on Team GB’s development squad in Sheffield.
A former British youth champion, McGregor, who turned 19 last week, is now being guided under the watchful eye of former WBO super featherweight champion and Edinburgh’s very own, Alex Arthur.
Arthur, now 37, has already publicly spoken of his admiration for the youngster, who he believes is destined for the top.
But, despite those compliments, McGregor says he is just grateful to have a former champion of Arthur’s calibre invest so much time in him.
“Alex has taught me so much and is just great to have around in the gym,” McGregor told the Evening News. “I’ve been working with him for over a year now so things are going really well. He always speaks very highly of me and to have someone of that mould saying all of these nice things, it really just spurs me on.
“But my other coaches at Meadowbank, Peaj Khosrowpour and John McCarron, also give up so much of their time and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”
Such has been the hype surrounding the 52kg fighter that McGregor revealed he has already been offered professional terms by an unnamed promoter. However, with just 28 amateur bouts under his belt, he says he has a lot of unfinished business outwith the paid ranks – starting with bringing home his first Scottish senior title in March.
“I’ve already had an offer to go professional from a promoter, but I’m still too young,” he said. “I’ve got the right people around me, though, to guide me and keep me right. Alex says he sees a lot of himself in me when he was younger so I’m mindful of that.
“I haven’t even won a Scottish senior title yet as I missed it back in March because of a shoulder injury so I definitely want to secure that one in a couple of months. I’ve adapted really well without the head guards too so I’m confident whoever comes my way. Reece McFadden, who won bronze at Glasgow last year, is in at my weight so I’ll need to get him out of the way as he’ll be one of the favourites. I really can’t wait to get going next year.”
McGregor has also switched to part-time with Edinburgh City Council in order to accommodate his monthly trips to Sheffield and the home of GB Boxing. He’s already had his maiden trip down to South Yorkshire and was overwhelmed with the facilities he’ll get to use first hand in the new year.
“I actually found out in August that I’d been selected so it’s been a bit of a wait,” McGregor explained. “So it was finally great to get down there a couple of weeks ago and see it in the flesh. It wasn’t particularly hard sessions as they were just breaking us in but we got some good sparring in.
“Getting all the GB kit was amazing and really hit home. The facilities down there are world class so I’ll be down there twice a month, Thursday to Sunday. I’m definitely looking to get onto the GB podium team fairly soon and not hang about.
“I know the Olympics in Rio are edging closer and closer, but you never know what can happen with injuries and what have you. I’m on the right path and could just make an impression down there over the next few months. But the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in 2018 are a more realistic target and I know 100 per cent I will be going there and hopefully coming home with gold.”