Lee McGregor could be the next superstar from Scotland after he destroyed Karim Guerfi in the first round to claim the European bantamweight title on MTK Global’s show Friday evening in Bolton.
The Frenchman, who was in his third reign as European champion, was on the floor three times, as he was finished off by McGregor’s body punches. He now holds the British, Commonwealth and European titles – all achieved in only ten fights as a professional.
“I said through the build-up that people were going to see a completely new Lee McGregor,” he said. “My physical strength, my mental strength has improved so much. I’m living the life. I’m a proper professional now. Ben (Davison, his trainer) has opened my eyes to so much. I was doing things so wrong that I thought were right.
“In September I went down to London to start preparing for this (the bout was postponed in November and again in January). New Year’s Eve I was sparring 12 rounds. I missed Christmas, I missed birthdays. There was no denying me tonight.”
It took less than a minute for McGregor to have Guerfi on the floor, as a whipping left hook to the body doubled Guerfi over in agony. He did beat the count, though, and took the fight to McGregor, but the Scotsman measured him with another left to the body. Which dropped him again.
Guerfi tried to stick with McGregor and soaked up more body shots as McGregor opened up. But there was no escape and, under pressure in a corner, Guerfi was caught by a big left hook that dropped him on his face. Referee John Latham waved the fight off as the Frenchman regained his feet at the count of nine, at 2:43 of the first round.
Promoter Lee Eaton said McGregor could next be in action on the undercard of the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez fight in Las Vegas on May 22.
“I’m one of the very few who takes the risks,” McGregor said. “I fought for the Commonwealth title in my fifth fight and my first professional title in my fourth fight. If you take the risks, you will get the reward. If you good enough and think you are good enough, step up and take the challenges. I have never shied away from any challenge and I never will.
“I’m not scared to lose. Many people are. I go into the ring and I am 100 per cent confident I will win. I can’t thank Ben enough. I have improved so much in six months. I can’t wait to see where I will be in 12 months' time.”