Lee McGregor aims to ram Scott Allan’s taunts down his throat at the Emirates Arena
Commonwealth bantamweight champion Lee McGregor says he hopes to make Scott Allan “eat his words” when the duo face off at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
The 22-year-old former Meadowbank amateur makes the first defence of the belt he won in October following a late stoppage of Cameroonian fighter Thomas Essomba.
However, Saturday night’s contest represents an all-Scottish affair and a match-up both boxers have had their eye on for quite some time.
Undefeated Edinburgh man McGregor is favourite to secure a seventh successive victory of his professional career, while a win for Lanark-based Allan (8-3-1), would represent something of a coup. The pair were scheduled to meet in March last year but the fight was pulled after Allan picked up an injury in training.
Allan, 26, has caused a bit of a stir with his claims that McGregor is overrated and that he “believes too much in his own hype”.
McGregor, though, says he would love nothing more than to ram those words down his rival’s throat.
“To be fair, since the fight was made the second time round he’s piped down a wee bit,” McGregor told the Evening News. “I think reality has hit him that he’s about to get in the ring with me. I’m just glad the fight is going ahead this time. He’s coming to win so that’s good because that’s when you see the best Lee McGregor.
“I don’t need to go about talking. My focus is on what I do on Saturday night. I can’t wait for that moment when he’s in the ring and he’s waiting on my entrance. That’s when it will really hit home for him. I think it’s a fight people are looking forward to. It’s my first time headlining a show as a professional too so I’m buzzing.”
McGregor, who is now with MTK Global, was taken the distance for the first time in his latest win over Brett Fidoe last month, his first bout since splitting with coach Shane McGuigan. He is now working under the tutelage of Grant Smith in Sheffield.
“I wasn’t overly happy with my performance last month but he was an awkward opponent,” McGregor explained. “I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare so it was just about getting myself fit. But I’m a boxer and I need to be professional. I’ve got a totally different mindset for this one on Saturday.
“I’m really enjoying it down in Sheffield. I’ve got myself a flat now so I feel settled. In the ring, I’m getting better all the time. I knew Grant from the GB team when I was amateur so I knew what I was getting into. It’s gone really well.
“I’m defending my Commonwealth title so in my head it’s 12 rounds so you need to be in good physical shape as it’s hard on your body. You go through hell to get ready for these fights. It’s my belt that’s on the line and he’s trying to take that away from me.”
Welterweight Lewis Benson is on the undercard at the Emirates and is gunning for opponent Renald Garrido of France.
The 27-year-old suffered back-to-back losses last year but picked up a morale-boosting win over the durable Zoltan Szabo three months ago. Benson revealed he has been assured of a title fight in September should he secure the 12th win of his career this weekend.
“I’ve been guaranteed my first title fight after Saturday so that’s a real incentive to get the win,” he said. “I need to focus on this weekend first as this guy is no mug. The defeats he has suffered have been split decisions or he’s been robbed, so he’s a real good boxer. It will be a really hard test.
“My career now seems to be going in the right direction again after last year. I feel rejuvenated. But I know if I slip up here then the title fights won’t come my way. I would really like to fight Tyrone McKenna (Benson controversially lost to McKenna in November) and I’ve told my team that. They’ve said they will press for it.”
Elsewhere, undefeated Celtic middleweight champion Tommy Philbin is set to box, although his opponent is still unknown.