Lee McGregor has two new promoters, along with a fight date and a change in career path.
Matchroom Boxing and Probellum have announced a co-promotional pact with the unbeaten Scottish bantamweight, who also has a new fight date and opponent for his next assignment. McGregor (11-0, 9KOs) will next face Armenia’s Narek Abgaryan (15-1, 6KOs) as part of the already announced December 18 show at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
"I’m delighted to welcome reigning European, British and Commonwealth Bantamweight Champion Lee McGregor to the team," said Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Sport in a joint statement with Probellum. "Lee has become one of the hottest young talents in world boxing and I’m excited to give him the global platform of DAZN to shine.”
The news comes one day after Probellum already announced a promotional pact with McGregor. The upstart promotional company has been open in its desire to work with all promoters and platforms around the world, with this signing marking the first partnership with Matchroom.
The move provides a firm fight date for McGregor, who will defend his EBU European bantamweight title on a show headlined by a heavyweight rematch between former WBO titlist Joseph Parker (29-2, 21KOs) and veteran trialhorse Derek Chisora (32-11, 23KOs).
“I’m absolutely delighted to be getting back in the ring defending my European Title against Narek Abgaryan,” said McGregor. “This is another step closer to me becoming a World Champion. I have the best team possible and I believe with Matchroom and Probellum backing me, I can win World Titles at multiple weights.”
Interestingly, the development means that McGregor is no longer potentially one win away from a guaranteed shot at the IBF bantamweight title. McGregor was previously due to face former two-time title challenger Jason Moloney (22-2, 18KOs) in a title eliminator, with D4G Promotions having won a purse bid for the right to promote the event.
Those plans were since abandoned, with both fighters moving in a different direction. It works to the benefit of Matchroom, who fills a void after rising light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi was forced to withdraw from a previously announced fight with former title challenger Maxim Vlasov due to injury.
McGregor is now guaranteed three fights in 2021, all with the EBU title at stake. The 24-year-old from Edinburgh, Scotland won the belt in a sensational first-round knockout of Karim Guerfi in March 2021. A successful first defense of the title came in August, knocking out unbeaten Vincent Legrand in the fourth round of an ESPN+ aired bout from Falls Park in Belfast.
The win over Legrand marked the second time that McGregor has bumped off an unbeaten opponent. The previous occasion came in November 2019, when McGregor outpointed Matchroom-promoted Ukashir ‘Kash’ Farooq via split decision. Farooq has since won three straight and is eager to avenge his lone career defeat. The latest move by Matchroom now potentially puts that in play.
“We look forward to watching [McGregor] perform in Manchester on December 18,” notes Hearn. “Then the huge all-Scottish rematch with Kash Farooq in early 2022."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox