Lee McGregor dedicates Commonwealth title to family after Essomba win

Lee McGregor celebrates victory over Thomas Essomba. Pic: Getty
Lee McGregor celebrates victory over Thomas Essomba. Pic: Getty
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Edinburgh’s Lee McGregor admitted he was lost for words as he secured his fifth consecutive stoppage to land the Commonwealth bantamweight champion at London’s York Hall.

The 21-year-old put in a stellar performance to eventually get the better of the robust Thomas Essomba of Cameroon in the 12th round following a gruelling contest that Cyclone stablemate Josh Taylor, who was carrying out media duties for Channel 5, described as a “class fight to watch”.

“Class it was with both boxers in the shape of their lives and showing real intent in the early rounds,” Taylor said.

Essomba, nine years McGregor’s senior and has represented his country in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, was a step up for the Scot, who had reeled off four straight wins since joining the paid ranks 12 months ago.

It is the first time McGregor has had to contend with some powerful blows to the face and body and he handled it well.

There’s no doubt McGregor, who is also the current IBF world youth champion, is a silky operator in the ring.

“What an unbelievable night Saturday was. It was 12 gruelling rounds and a cracking fight against a strong, tough man but I still managed to get the knockout in the last round. I’m lost for words to explain how special it was,” McGregor said.

“A massive thanks to my team and my coach Shane McGuigan, who works tirelessly with me day in day out and everyone involved. I have the best support in the world.

“I genuinely couldn’t believe the reception I received and all the numbers that turned up. This is the only the beginning. There’s big things to come and I’m really ready to crack on now.

“The personal tragedies from losing his mum and grandparents within the past 18 months have been well publicised but McGregor was quick to dedicate his latest victory to those who are unfortunately no longer here.

“I had my mum, my granda and my grandma on my shoulders in that ring,” he said. “Where was I getting that energy from in the 12th round to keep fighting on?

“I had them behind me looking over me and I want to dedicate that to them.

“My granda was my biggest fan, my mum – all of them. I miss them so much but that fight and belt – I dedicate that to them.

“I hope they’re looking down and are proud.”