By Chris Williamson
York Hall, London - Scotland’s former amateur star ‘Lightning’ Lee McGregor won the vacant commonwealth bantamweight title in just his fifth professional fight with pulsating twelfth round stoppage over Cameroon-born former English bantam and Commonwealth flyweight champ Thomas Essomba in a red hot York Hall atmosphere.
For a man boxing his first twelve rounder, the young Scot showed incredible maturity and excellent stamina throughout the exciting battle of bodysnatchers.
The 21 year old Edinburgh man, who has a baby due next month, started well behind the jab while the switch-hitting Essomba appeared dangerous with the short left uppercut.
It was an intriguing battle from the outset, with the taller, rangier McGregor starting to box at distance and the bull-like Essomba rushing the younger man to attack with short hooks to head and body.
A short left at the end of the fourth floored McGregor, with referee Ian John -Lewis judging it a knockdown which from my vantage point looked more like a slip.
By the mid-way point both warriors were punishing each other to the body in front of an appreciative crowd.
Through the second half of the contest, McGregor began to dominate with powerful left hooks to head and body as Essomba looked close to wilting as stablemate and countryman Josh Taylor cheered McGregor on from ringside.
In the eighth the Scot took a good shot and nodded to Essomba, clearly feeling well in control against an opponent who has based himself in the north east of England and whose last 13 fights have been held in the U.K.
McGregor wouldn’t be denied his first professional title, taking the eleventh with intense pressure and his superb signature left hook to the body, before a left hook to the head in the final round made Essomba wilt to the canvas. The thriller was over at one minute and 38 seconds of the final round.