British 56kg boxing champion Lee McGregor says the recent death of his mother can inspire him to gold at this summer’s European Championships in Ukraine.
The 20-year-old Meadowbank amateur was informed of the devastating news that his mum Elizabeth had passed away aged 44 after a battle with throat cancer just hours after retaining his British title in Cardiff a fortnight ago.
McGregor, whose place at next month’s European Championships in Kharkiv was confirmed by Boxing Scotland earlier this week, insists he will be doing all he can to honour his mum’s memory when he travels to eastern Europe.
The youngster had been due to fly out to Uzbekistan for a training camp on Tuesday with the GB Podium squad but will now continue his preparations on home soil.
Despite his sudden loss, McGregor, who is also the current Scottish champion, is determined not to allow his emotions get the better of him and will instead channel his energy into doing what he does best inside the ring.
“I just need to do the best I can. My mum’s life wasn’t great so I’m just happy she’s in a better place now,” McGregor said. “I was, of course, broken at the time but I’ve come around as the days have gone on. She hadn’t been well for some time having been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago but I didn’t expect whatsoever to be told she’d passed away when I got back home from Cardiff.
“I’m just going to try and be positive. Obviously, I was meant to be out to Uzbekistan on a training camp but I can knuckle down here and get ready for the European Championships. I’ve got the right people around me and I’m fit enough having just fought in the British final. I’ll push myself in the gym here and do everything I can to bring a medal back.
“If I’m finding it tough in the last round and I need to dig deep, what more motivation do you need in knowing that your mum is looking down on you? I know for a fact she’ll be telling me to bite down. And, if you think boxers are fighters, she was the biggest fighter of them all.
“I want to do as best as I can and I want to bring home a medal for my mum. She’ll be guiding me along the right path. I’ve never feared anyone going into the ring and I never will, but now I’ll feel untouchable.”
McGregor was again untouchable as he defeated both Kyle Morrison and Louie Lynn at the British finals in Wales earlier this month, another gold to the one he secured at the Belgrade Winners Tournament in Serbia last month. He is the country’s hottest prospect and says a favourable draw in Ukraine could see him make his mark among Europe’s elite when the championships get underway on June 14.
“Looking back at the British, I had two good, hard opponents but that’s to be expected as I’m at a level now where there is no such thing as an easy fight,” McGregor explained. “I think I’ve had 42 or 43 fights. All these guys have had hundreds and hundreds so I’ve still so much to learn and improve on. I’m getting better and better with every fight.
“The draw always plays a big part in these sorts of competitions and I amn’t just saying this to big myself up but I believe I can become European champion. I just need a wee warm-up fight and then I’ll take things from there. I’m really looking forward to going out there and I think that all the Scottish boys can do well.”