European bantamweight champion Lee McGregor has a pleasant dilemma on his hands.
News broke today that D4G Promotions had won the rights to stage the IBF Bantamweight final eliminator between the Scot and Australia’s two-time world title challenger Jason Moloney. The winning bid came in at $201,000 and the victor will become mandatory challenger to champion Naoya Inoue.
So, on one hand McGregor has that option. On the other is a rematch with compatriot Kash Farooq. Last month the British Boxing Board of Control revealed that an agreement had been reached between all parties for the bout to take place and would be staged by Farooq’s promoter Eddie Hearn at a date and venue to be advised.
Boxing Social spoke to Lee McGregor this evening and firstly got his reaction to the Moloney fight.
“I’ve been training away in the background waiting to see what’s happening,” he said. “Obviously, purse bids have been won today. I think the teams will have to have a discussion on what’s best for the date, venue, things like that. I don’t know much. As you know it’s just been announced today. I’m happy. I’m excited. It’s a good fight and one I’m well up for. It’s a wee waiting game now. I’ll touch base with my team this week and we’ll get everything put into place, get cracking and get ready for that fight whenever it’s going to be put out for.”
Moloney would represent a considerable step up for McGregor who has only had 11 fights in his career so far. Just one shy of a dozen but so far, it’s a success story with the 24-year-old sitting as King of Europe and Great Britain. It has been a rapid rise for the unbeaten star who made a successful first defence of his European crown against Vincent Legrand in August ending the Frenchman’s hopes in the 4th round.
McGregor admitted to not knowing much about Moloney but is aware of his credentials.
“I know he is a good fighter, a legit world top ten bantamweight. He’s a solid fighter, solid competitor at that weight, been in with the very best. Came up short against [Emmanuel] Rodriguez for the IBF title in the [World Boxing] Super Series a few years ago. He then went 7 rounds with Inoue for the IBF belt not long ago. Definitely the toughest test of my career. These are the fights I want and it’s another step for me to get closer to my shot.”
But a return fixture with Farooq is of great appeal to McGregor. In 2019 the pair fought out a tremendous battle of skill, will and grit for the British and Commonwealth titles. Edinburgh faced Glasgow inside the latter city’s Emirates Arena and McGregor, the challenger, emerged victorious in a split decision win. Fans have clamoured for a rematch, and one is definitely on the table.
“All these fights are the fights I want,” McGregor said. “I’m actually a wee bit spoiled for choice which is something I’m not complaining about. I’m now in a position for two massive fights. I’d like the both of them. That’s not to say both of the fights won’t happen.
“I’d be lying if I told you I know exactly what’s happening because it’s all up in the air just now. I do know that Eddie Hearn did come out and say the [Farooq] fight was going to happen in 2022. Ideally, I would like to get this Moloney fight done and out the way before the year’s out and we could still be on for the Farooq rematch. Although this is a final eliminator for the IBF title Inoue’s not going to be called to defend anytime soon and I think he’s got his eyes set on other things like unifications.
“Listen, I’m not an idiot. I’m not in any rush to be fighting Inoue yet with only having 11 fights. I think this fight is a good fight for me, it puts me in a lovely position. It’s another step up, another good test and another great experience competing at that world level. We’ll wait and see what happens. Like I said I’d like the two fights.”
Moloney of Farooq part two. Which would be his preference?
“It’s such a hard one. From a selfish point of view, I’d probably favour the Kash one because of the profile and exposure and how big an event and how big a night it would be, it’d be massive. But from a business point of view, thinking ahead about world titles and my career obviously the Moloney fight would make more sense. I’m lucky enough I don’t make these decisions. I leave everything like that to my team. I’ll do whatever they say. I really do want both fights.
“The fact the Moloney fight is a final eliminator for the world title is what’s getting me right up for that. I’m just a fighter at the end of the day and I’ll leave it to my team and whatever will be, will be. It’s exciting regardless.”
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