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World champion ready for football club visit

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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American boxing legend and two-time heavyweight champion of the world 'Terrible' Tim Witherspoon will be speaking at Frome Town FC on Saturday, December 1.

The 55-year-old from Philadelphia, who sparred with Muhammad Ali, stopped Frank Bruno at Wembley and recorded 38 knockouts in a professional career that spanned 25 years. He is also known for his court battle with Don King, who he sued for fraud.

Witherspoon became WBA champion in January 1986 when he beat Tony Tubbs and held it for the rest of the year, famously beating Bruno along the way in front of 60,000 fans in London to retain his belt.

Despite his exciting journey through the boxing world, Witherspoon says that he will focus on the current state of the sport when he visits the Venue and Sports Bar at the AlderSmith Stadium.

"I'm really looking forward to coming down but instead of just talking about my life story I'll be concentrating on the ups and downs of today's boxing," he said.

A lot has changed in the sport since the 6ft 3in heavyweight was winning titles. The heavyweight divisions are currently dominated by the Ukrainian Kiltschko brothers and there has been a shift in popularity to the lower weight classes thanks to fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Since hanging up his gloves in 2003, Witherspoon has been a busy man. As well as visiting venues as a speaker, he trains young fighters in the USA, including his son Tim Jnr, a light welterweight.

"It's going really well," said Witherspoon of his son's fledgling career. "He will be a champion one day."

Witherspoon has been in the UK for most of 2012, taking part in charity events and occasionally even pulling his gloves back on for the cause.

"I want to be a part of anything that is positive," he said. "Our mother taught us to give at a very young age, and I like to get involved with anything that helps people."

Promoter Peter Mattingley said: "He's very open and will answer any questions that people have.

"It will be suitable for all ages – he's very interested in the youth coming through in boxing today and taking up the sport as a way of keeping them out of trouble."

The Witherspoon event begins at 8pm and tickets cost £15, or £25 for VIP access from 7pm.

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