Officers pulling no punches in bid to raise charity funds

The Lothian and Borders team
The Lothian and Borders team
2
Have your say

THEY are usually the ones breaking up the punch-ups rather than getting involved in them.

But the gloves are on for Lothian and Borders coppers as they psych up for a boxing battle against police from across the pond.

Eight officers are set to face the Los Angeles and New York police departments’ boxing best as they jab, duck and weave in the name of charity.

The competition, which aims to raise cash for children’s charities Caudwell Children and the Teddy Atlas Children’s foundation in the States, will see eight one-on-one matches between Scottish and American officers.

Lothians’ finest will pull out all the stops to outdo the American forces in the quest to find out who is best, with Lothian and Borders Police Choir blasting out Flower of Scotland, officers re-enacting a Braveheart scene and bagpipes at the ready.

The beefiest cop, Steve Livingstone, is set to face the toughest challenge of the lot as he takes on twice world heavyweight champion ‘Terrible’ Tim Witherspoon.

The charity match, which will be held at the Corn Exchange on April 29, is set to be filmed by Sky Sports and past and present professional boxers are rumoured to be lining the ringside on the big night.

Detective Sergeant Mike Leask, 38, who is team captain and an amateur, said the eight officers were undergoing intensive training in preparation for the big event. He said: “I was contacted by a force down south to see if there were any Scottish boxers willing to fight it out with the American team.

“I put the feelers out there and got lots of interest, although we have now whittled it down to eight.

“All the guys are loving it, we’re all boxing each other each week.

“Each individual boxer will have their own theme tune and boxing name. Mine is Marvelous Mike Leask after one of my favourite boxers, Marvelous Marvin Hagler.”

Officer Livingstone admitted he was a bit apprehensive about his duel.

The 41-year-old said: “I’m the crazy one that offered to do this. I’m 6ft 6in and weigh 330lbs, but I’ve never done any boxing before and I think I’m in for it.

“I spend my Friday nights now getting punched in the head. I was born and brought up in Gorgie, but I don’t know if I’m tough enough for this.”

Steve Harding, co-ordinator for Lothian and Borders sport and recreational society, and a retired cop, said he saw this as a chance for the force to build relationships and have fun.

The 57-year-old said: “It’s a huge event for us, we’ve never had something like this before and it will support some very worthwhile charities.

“There’ll be a ring, robes, the gloves, everything you’d expect in a big match.

“Some of the guys have a bit of experience boxing. Mike has boxed over 200 times, but the others have little or no experience.”

The other cop boxers taking part include Alan Mark, 42, from West Lothian, David McMahon, 37, from the southside, Callum Mill, Craig McColl and Brian O’Neill.

vraimes@edinburghnews.com