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Boxing legends Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson in Leicester

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Youngsters at a community gym were given a masterclass in ringcraft when they went toe-to-toe with a true heavyweight of the sport.

Former two-time world champion "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon visited the Golden Gloves gym, in Braunstone, on Sunday to impart some pugilistic wisdom to a group of eager young fighters.

Club members as young as 12 were able to spar with the 6ft 3in former pro, while their parents crowded the ring taking photos.

The Philadelphia fighter said: "I love coming out to visit gyms like this.

"I really enjoy seeing how different clubs train, especially in this country, because the system is so well supported."

The American won the WBC heavyweight title in 1984 and the WBA belt in 1986, successfully defending it against Frank Bruno in London the same year – knocking the British boxer out in the 11th round.

He said: "Boxing is important for communities like this. It teaches youngsters respect and teaches them how to behave when they're out on the street.

"I hope meeting some of the kids will inspire them to take their boxing to the next level – maybe there are some future world champions in this gym."

TJ Harty, 12, was the first to glove up against the former champ.

He said: "I can't believe I've been in the ring with a world champion.

"It was really good to meet him and spar with him. I reckon I beat him by about 21 points to 10."

Fellow Golden Gloves amateur Christian Kasongo, 15, said: "He gave me some tips and said I could possibly be a heavyweight myself."

Braunstone boxer Derrick Munyaka, 16, said: "I got his autograph and a photo and had a talk with him – he seemed like a great guy.

"It's inspiring to meet people who have achieved so much."

The heavyweight was in town with fellow fighter Mike Tyson, who had appeared at a black tie event at the Leicester Colosseum, in Melton Road, on Thursday night.

Tim, 54, who clocked up 55 wins from 69 fights during his career, also appeared as guest of honour at a fight night at the New Parks Social Club, in Battersbee Road.

The event, which was attended by about 900 people, raised money for Cancer Research.

Organiser Elvis Hopkins said: "I met him at another boxing show and asked him to come down, so he gave me his number and told me to call him. I can't thank him enough.

"It was an absolutely fantastic night.

"Tim was singing, dancing and signing gloves for the kids – he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

"He's such a great bloke."

Boxing legends  Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson in Leicester


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