Lee McGregor aims to become a triple champion against Karim Guerfi

Lee McGregor is trying so as to add Karim Guerfi’s European bantamweight title to his British and Commonwealth belts, but it surely will not be straightforward

(A model of this text was first revealed within the November 5, 2020 difficulty of Boxing Information, earlier than the Guerfi-McGregor battle was twice postponed.)

IN solely his tenth battle, Lee McGregor seems so as to add the European bantamweight title to his British and Commonwealth belts when he challenges Karim Guerfi on Friday (March 19) on the Bolton Whites Resort (MTK). This has the makings of a fan-friendly battle, as champion and challenger each prefer to get caught in.

Frenchman Guerfi is in his third spell as European champion and although he’s 34 years previous now and has a few early losses on his 29-4 file, he’s established at this degree and had a superb win final day trip.

Guerfi was topped European champion for a 3rd time when Georges Ory (11-2-1) was pulled out at the beginning of the tenth in November 2019 on the ringside physician’s recommendation, along with his left eye reduce and swelling shut. Guerfi was forward on factors and nonetheless recent.

This seems to be the hardest battle but for the 24-year-old McGregor (9-0), however he has risen to each problem that’s been put in entrance of him to this point since turning over in November 2017, after competing within the European and World Championships as an novice.

He made an actual breakthrough when outpointing British titlist Kash Farooq (13-0) in a giant Scottish derby 16 months in the past. There have been those that had Farooq profitable, however a cut up verdict went McGregor’s approach. He had his finest moments in a gruelling battle when he obtained his toes shifting within the second half.

For a fighter who stands 5ft 7 1/2ins tall and may’t discover making 118lbs straightforward, the decided McGregor has a superb engine. That was proved when he wore down Thomas Essomba (8-4) for the vacant Commonwealth belt in solely his fifth outing, in October 2018 (KO 12).

The Edinburgh man examined the waters up at 122lbs in August final yr and though he was going up a weight, McGregor was nonetheless approach greater than Ryan Walker (11-1). Walker was reduce and dropped by a right-hand counter – McGregor’s finest punch – early within the fifth and it was waved off.

McGregor, who’s now skilled by Ben Davison, has been sparring Louie Lynn, who he outpointed within the Three Nations novice last in 2017. Lynn is much like Guerfi – and McGregor – in that he comes ahead and let his arms go.

The well-travelled Guerfi has good toes, fights at a excessive tempo and is similar peak as McGregor. He has lengthy levers, however is snug hooking on the within. He well shifted his place to drop Ryan Farrag (15-1) with a brief left hook in entrance of his Liverpool followers in June 2016 to safe a third-round stoppage.

Farrag went into the battle effervescent with confidence having defeated Stephane Jamoye, and Guerfi has additionally crushed the Belgian – twice. Jamoye went into their first bout, in September 2013, ranked No. 1 by the WBC and Guerfi outfought and outboxed him to win a majority resolution on away turf.

Guerfi’s file additionally exhibits a November 2015 unanimous factors win over the late Alejandro Gonzalez Jnr (25-2-2), who had dropped Carl Frampton twice in a world title problem in his earlier look. Make no mistake, Guerfi can battle.

He has had three victories since Michael Dasmarinas (27-2) nailed him with a monster again hand from nowhere in April 2018 in Singapore. That profitable run has lifted Guerfi as much as No. 8 within the IBF rankings, with McGregor 4 locations above him. Paul Butler, the previous IBF champion, is ranked No. 3 and is a attainable goal for the winner.

The McGregor battle – attributable to be proven on iFL TV (UK) and ESPN+ (US) – can be Guerfi’s third in Britain. He was chinned by Zhanat Zhakiyanov (21-1) in Sheffield greater than six years in the past, however till the right-hand finisher landed within the fifth, Guerfi was doing nicely.

This was additionally the story in opposition to Dasmarinas. Guerfi had received the opening three rounds on one card, however one swing from the Filipino within the fourth and it was throughout. He’s put that behind him and on the proof of his final battle, Guerfi doesn’t look to be slowing down.

When on kind, Guerfi isn’t a straightforward night time for anybody, however nonetheless, McGregor has the youth and urge for food to dig in and outpoint him in a punishing battle.

THE VERDICT Types ought to gel properly on this attention-grabbing conflict.

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