Lee McGregor is new British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion

Edinburgh’s Lee McGregor is the new British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion after a quite scintillating 12 rounds of boxing.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 11:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th November 2019, 12:01 am
Lee McGregor celebrates with his team after his split decision win over Kash Farooq. Picture: SNS

The 22-year-old defeated former belt holder Glasgow’s Kash Farooq on a split decision at the Emirates Arena, the final judge scoring it 115-112 in favour of the Capital fighter.

This all-Scottish unification clash had been billed as the biggest domestic match-up in more than a decade and it duly delivered.

The magnificent Farooq had successfully defended his British title three times but this one proved a bridge too far - but only just.

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McGregor started the more sprightly, roared on by a big travelling support from the east coast. He quickly found his range that appeared to catch Farooq off guard inside the opening three minutes.

However, the 23-year-old quickly warmed up as both boxers went to war. The duo stood and exchanged blows as the narrative that had been predicted started to unravel.

McGregor was caught with a big left hand right at the start of the third but put up a solid defence thereafter as Farooq grew in confidence.

But McGregor is made of tough stuff and started to find more success with some big shots in the fourth round, Farooq sporting a cut above his left eye as he made his way back to the corner.

McGregor worked the combination to great effect as both boxers continued to operate at a relentless pace.

Something surely had to give but these individuals are incredible athletes who aren’t prepared to give an inch.The power in the shots served up was mind blowing.

A big uppercut from McGregor in the seventh had Farooq stunned as the former Meadowbank amateur smelt blood.

The noise inside the Emirates was now electric as the fight entered the latter rounds. McGregor was warned for pushing his opponent in the eighth, a quieter three minutes in comparison to the previous 21.

The duo came together with Farooq’s upper body falling out of the ring, although it was completely accidental. The big shots kept coming with this energy-sapping duel firmly in the balance.

McGregor was deducted a point in the tenth for pushing having previously been warned by the referee but that merely added fuel to the fire as far as the Edinburgh man landed a huge right hand as he looked to finish the stronger.

There was a warm embrace between the pair as the contest entered the final three minutes with McGregor now sensing it was his to lose. A huge right hook caught Farooq and although the outgoing champion put up one final hurrah, McGregor’s hand was raised.