A POLICE officer taking part in his first ever boxing match battled his way to an incredible draw – against a former heavyweight champion of the world.
The twice former world champion Tim Witherspoon contested three rounds against Detective Constable Steve Livingstone in front of a partisan crowd during a charity fundraiser event at the Corn Exchange.
The match was the highlight of an evening which saw boxers from Lothian and Borders Police narrowly edge their US opponents by 3-2 in the event dubbed The Battle of the Badges.
A hard fought series of bouts saw the home side victorious following a last gasp win from the force’s David McMahon.
DC Livingstone was taking part in his first ever fight against Witherspoon – who once knocked out Britain’s Frank Bruno – and afterwards was full of praise for his opponent. He said: “I had the time of my life tonight. It was an amazing experience to box with Tim Witherspoon and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Concerns had been raised about a battle pitting Witherspoon against the 41-year-old novice detective but the match-up ended without incident.
And Witherspoon was full of praise for DC Livingstone’s efforts, and hoped more youngsters would take up the sport.
Witherspoon, 54, said: “He fought hard and showed a lot of spirit. He did a great job tonight and gave me a few good shots. He obviously trained hard and I respect him for that.
“Boxing can get a bad reputation but I hope this shows that young people can gain a lot from the discipline of training. The police do a great job in trying to steer young people away from crime. Boxing is an excellent way to provide that positive alternative.
“But tonight has been on all about the charities.”
The men embraced after the fight watched by a rapturous crowd, mostly made up of officers from the force.
The fight was watched by a packed audience
DC Livingstone, standing 6ft 5in, said: “I’ve lost two stone during training and I definitely intend to continue my boxing as a fitness regime. I feel honoured to be part of an evening which has raised so much money for charity.
“It was a pleasure to be in the same ring as Mr Witherspoon, who was a fighter I grew up watching, and as a father-of-three it means a lot to do this for a good cause.”
Amateur Boxing Scotland had raised concerns about the contest matching a novice fighter against a former world champion as they would not have granted a licence for an officially regulated fight due to the age of the combatants.
DC Livingstone, 41, added: “I felt safe during the entire fight. It couldn’t have been handled better.”
The event raised money for children’s charities Caudwell Children and the Teddy Atlas Children’s foundation in the states.
With two draws, the Lothian and Borders force edged the contest, including a win for team captain and former amateur boxer Mike Leask.
Deputy Chief Brian McCarthy, who led the US team, said he was proud of his fighters despite the narrow loss to the Lothian and Borders force.
He said: “It’s great to come here and be part of an event like this with our police colleagues in Scotland. They gave it their all and I’m glad we had the chance to build relations between us.”