LEE McGREGOR has watched his close friend Josh Taylor move to within one fight of becoming undisputed world champion and now wants to experience that for himself.

Victory over Karim Guerfi in Bolton tonight will see the Edinburgh boxer add the European strap to his British, Commonwealth and IBF youth belts in just his tenth professional fight.

That’s an incredible level of progression for any boxer and could set the bantamweight up for a shot at a world title before the end of the year.

Little wonder then that the 24 year-old views this contest as potentially “life-changing” for him as he and Guerfi look to step into the ring at the fourth time of asking – the previous three dates all cancelled on various Covid grounds.

McGregor has been in camp for this bout for six months now and believes that under trainer Ben Davison – who also works with Taylor - he has made significant improvements both in technique and attitude.

“Before I teamed up with Ben I would have said I was a good bit away from being a world level fighter,” he said. “But I reckon after tonight I’ll have a different answer.

“I never really watched much boxing until I joined up with Ben and now I’m studying it all the time. My favourite fighter is Canelo Alvarez by a country mile. I’m constantly watching his fights every day. Tonight there should be signs of that in my performance.

“If I perform as I have been in the gym then people are going to be blown away. I don’t want to say too much as it puts pressure on myself. But if I stick to the plan then there are going to be eyes opened.

“I’m in such a good position to move forward from here. With the IBF I’m ranked fourth in the world, Paul Butler is at three, nobody is at two and number one is Michael Dasmarinas who is the mandatory for Naoya Inoue.

“Inoue will win that one and then there is talk he may vacate the title and move up. And next in line could be the winner of this fight tonight versus Paul Butler for a world title. That’s unbelievable. It’s within touching distance if I get through this one.

“So this fight tonight is life-changing for me. One million percent. So many doors will open if I’m victorious. That’s why I will leave everything in the ring.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into this. I’ve left no stone unturned. There’s no way I am going to lose tonight. I won’t be denied. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get that belt.”

Guerfi is a decade older than McGregor and much more experienced with 33 pro fights, but the Scot isn’t fazed by that.

He added: “I think he thinks he’s just coming in with a young boy in front of him. But when that first bell goes he’s going to get the biggest shock of his life. But I have a lot of respect for him too. I know it’s going to be a hard fight. 

“He likes a scrap but it has to be mature from me. I’ll fight at the right times, I’ll box at the right times and I’ll control how it goes. It’s finally here and it feels real now. I’m in the bubble, been tested and we’re good to go. I feel like I’ve been preparing for this moment forever.

“I went to start camp when Josh was three weeks out from his fight with Apinun Khongsong last September. And I’ve been in camp ever since then. Those first few days feel like a lifetime ago. So I can’t wait to finally be fighting.”