Topping the undercard on the night Sergio Gabriel Martinez claimed the vacant WBC Diamond middleweight with an eighth-round TKO of Serhiy Dzinziruk, Lee was trailing on points going into the fateful final round despite dropping Scotland’s ‘Braveheart’ with a combination in the ninth. Then, less than a minute into the 10th, he caught a tiring McEwan with a big right to the head and there was no comeback.
“It was a tough, tough fight, one of the hardest I have ever had,” Lee admitted. “And I would like to congratulate Craig on boxing so well. He’s a fine boxer and a very nice guy and I have no doubt that he will bounce back from this.
“I knew going into the final round that I was behind. I knew I had to put the boot down and put in a big round and I managed to do that with the knockout.
“I had him down in the ninth also and I could see that I was hurting him. It’s great to get the win under the belt — although I left it late.”
Lee now wants what many consider to be a long overdue shot at a world title and he feels that it may be around the next corner.
“I’ll take a rest for a few weeks now to give the body a chance to heal,” he said. “I’ll have a talk with (trainer) Emanuel Steward and (promoter) Lou DiBella then and see what my next step is from here.
“I hope to be in a position to have a world title shot lined up by the end of this year. I might have one or two fights before that but a world title shot is definitely on the cards for 2011.”
“I said before this fight that defeat was not an option. It was a must win fight for me, all fights are must win for me at this stage of my career.
“I’m not that happy. I like to dominate. I had to dig deep.
“I didn’t have my legs. I went back to the street. That’s how we fight at Kronk.”
McEwan didn’t say much as he was escorted out of the ring by security.
“I thought I was winning,” he said. “I just got caught with a shot. I thought I was adapting well. I just got caught.”