BEING on the same team as Carl Frampton did Josh Taylor no harm at all at the start of his boxing career.

The pair were both part of the Cyclone Promotions stable in those days. So when world champion Frampton fought in America, Taylor followed and took a slot on the undercard. Three of his first eight professional bouts took place in the United States.

Now it is Taylor who is the world champion with Lee McGregor eager to follow in his footsteps. The long-term pals from the Edinburgh area are now in the same MTK Global camp having split with Cyclone.

Both will fight on the May 2 card at the Hydro in Glasgow when Taylor defends his IBF and WBA belts against Thai challenger Apinun Khongsong.

McGregor is still only eight fights into his professional career but is already the British and Commonwealth champion.

He plans on defending both those titles in Glasgow – an opponent is still being sought – after which he hopes to trail Taylor to America.


“I look up to Josh,” said the bantamweight. “I have trained alongside him for years and know the work he puts in.

“I was part of all his cards when we were together at Cyclone Promotions and now we are both MTK, so I hope we can continue that partnership.

“We are both good mates and I believe that wherever Josh goes, I can go with him. I would love to go out and fight in America. I am in a handy position for that because MTK have a great relationship with Top Rank [Taylor’s promoter in the States].

“I feel they are going to start doing big things in the UK as well, but I believe they will take Josh to the States in time and I would love to be a part of that.”

McGregor’s previous fight was a classic against Kash Farooq at the end of last year when the man known as Lightning got the nod in a split decision.

It was the toughest contest of his career to date but he hopes to put that experience to good use.

“Those are the fights you want to be involved in and dream about being involved in as a kid,” he added. “It was a gruelling fight and the whole of the UK was talking about it.


“I was privileged to be a part and hats off to Kash for leaving it all in the ring along with myself. There was no quitting from either of us and we fought our hearts out until the final bell.

“I feel like I learned a lot from it. I had to dig really deep and feel like I could have done things differently during the fight.

“I was blasting guys away earlier in my career but that fight with Kash was probably what I needed at this stage in my career to go onto the next level.

“It is always good winning in style and sending out a message, but, at this level, winning in style should be the last thing on your mind.

“It is just about getting that hand raised and taking those belts back home to the family. That is my mindset going into every fight now. I am not going to be blasting people out. I need to be prepared for 12 hard, gruelling rounds.”

The 23 year-old admits his career has progressed faster than he had anticipated in the early days.

“It means a lot to have the belts. When I first turned professional I couldn’t imagine I would be British and Commonwealth champion after eight fights. It’s massive for me. But I’m not finished yet – I’m just getting started. I want to have a big 2020, push on and win more titles.


“Ideally, I’d love to challenge for the European title this year - whether that is the end of the year or the summer.”

The prospect of a rematch with Farooq is also still tantalisingly in the background, with McGregor feeling he has a point to prove.

“I got it on a split decision,” he added “Some people might have seen it slightly different which I can accept. Maybe a couple of rounds either way. But these people saying it was a robbery – I don’t agree with that. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and it’s something I’m more than happy to put right.

“If I get that chance we can meet again down the line, hopefully with something bigger at stake.”