Boxing:Meager so eager for title shot

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Two fights away from the British lightweight championship, he will beat Dave Stewart in the final eliminator on 6 December and then wait for Graham Earl to give him a date for what he believes is his destiny.’I left Jersey to turn pro three years ago,’ the 25-year-old explains.

‘Before that I’d boxed for three years for Pisces, got to two ABA finals and represented England twice.’I’d always dreamed of turning pro.

Since then I’ve had 14 fights, won 13 and drawn one.

I feel I’m ready for it.

Before my injury I was at my best, ever.

I was really flying.’That injury was a flare-up of an elbow he damaged two years ago, but it was only in March that he had an operation which meant, in turn, several weeks away from the ring, before he could start training again.Now the elbow is fine and he is looking forward to getting back to business.’The last three years have been like an apprenticeship,’ he said, before training at the Southill gym.’You have to serve your time before you’re given a chance of the title.’A member of the Jersey Commonwealth Games team, this time at featherweight in Malaysia in 1998, Meager – then coached by Jersey’s Brian Rousseau – misses the Island but knew he would have to leave if he was to make his dreams come true.He regularly returns, however – this time to see his uncle Chris McBurnie’s new son, Max – and has no illusions about the sacrifices you have to make if you want to be a champion.He trains twice a day, five times a week.

He watches what he eats, gets up at 6 am for either roadwork, or hill sprints, and lives frugally.

‘I only get paid when I fight,’ he said.

‘But I’ve a good manager in Mick Hennessy, have some great sparring partners, and the man I admire most is my coach, Bob McCracken.’He has the longest unbeaten record of 33 fights; is only 35 and could have been a world champion if he’d had the breaks.’Meager’s last fight was in January, and he will be returning to the ring for a warm-up to that eliminator fight on 15 November.

But is he ever scared about being hit, or of being put on the canvas?’If you worry about being hit you don’t do it,’ he said.

‘It’s like worrying if you’d go out in the rain, knowing you’ll get wet.

The other boxer’s only got two arms and two legs, the same as you.

No, I don’t worry; and I’ve been boxing since I was ten.’To look at him, you wouldn’t recognise this is one of Britain’s most promising boxers.

Of slight build and umarked, he is also amazingly fit and works effortlessly in the ring, scarcely breaking sweat.Apart from the strict training regime there are other down sides in being a pro fighter – ‘it is more technical than when I was an amateur, and can be a long, gruelling process,’ he says – and you have to learn, very quickly, how to go about beating every boxer put in your way.Take Dave Stewart, the opponent he has to beat if he is to get into the ring with British lightweight champion, Graham Earl, unbeaten for the last 19 bouts.’He’s tall, and rangy, and a very good boxer.’So how will Meager beat him? ‘I’m not going to tell you that,’ he says.

‘I know what I’ve got to do – but he might just read it.’And with that Lee Meager smiles, knowing that a three-year journey for a British title might soon be coming to an end.If Lee Meager does win the British title he would love to defend his title in Jersey where ‘I have had terrific support over the years, especially from John and Yvonne Burns.’

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