FORMER world heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon has warned the police officer he will face in a charity boxing match that he might have to “take him down” in the ring.
The 54-year-old is set to fight Detective Constable Steve Livingstone, who has never previously boxed, as part of a charity fundraiser at the Corn Exchange tomorrow night.
Witherspoon, who was twice heavyweight champ in the 1980s and once brutally knocked out Frank Bruno, pledged to take it easy unless his opponent showed a little too much enthusiasm in his first contest.
He said: “I’m not in this to try to hurt anybody. If the guy tries to come out and hurt me, I’m just going to have to let him know – bang – just hit him with a shot, not really trying to hurt him, but sting him a little bit.”
But DC Livingstone, who is 6ft 5in and weighs 24 stone, said he does not rate his chances against Witherspoon.
He said: “He’s excellent at these exhibitions. I’ve seen him fight on YouTube at these exhibitions and he knows exactly what he’s doing.
“I think he’ll be able to avoid anything I’m throwing. Twice world champion, he’s one of the best boxers in the world. He’s a real showman.
“I expect there to be lots of ducks, weaves and shuffles. I expect him to try and throw a few big bombs and I’m looking forward to trying to take the power.
“When I found out I was actually going to be fighting him, I couldn’t wait. An opportunity to fight someone like Mr Witherspoon was an absolute honour.”
Tomorrow’s event will also see eight Lothian and Borders officers facing the Los Angeles and New York police departments’ boxing best in a contest being dubbed the Battle of the Badges.
DC Livingstone, 41, said he was happy to be involved in the event aimed at raising cash for children’s charities Caudwell Children and the Teddy Atlas Children’s Foundation in the United States.
He said: “I’ve three kids myself. To do anything that helps disadvantaged children, sick or injured kids, that’s what this is all about.”
Detective Sergeant Mike Leask, the force’s team captain and a former amateur boxer, said his colleague had no idea who his opponent would be when he agreed to be involved.
DS Leask said: “Steve initially had reservations but within two days he was right on the phone and said, ‘I’m interested’.
“When I told him on the phone he was boxing Tim Witherspoon I could hear the trepidation in his voice, but the excitement after that was outstanding.”
The match-up has previously been criticised by amateur boxing chiefs.
Richard Thomas, chairman of the Amateur Boxing Scotland governing body, said the contest had been organised without its official sanction and warned that the bout could lead to injury, or even a fatality.