WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida mugger got more than he bargained for when he attacked a limping 68-year-old man who turned out to be a world-class professional fighter and kickboxing champion.
Steve Shepherd had strained a muscle and was walking with a limp back to his car after eating tacos Dec. 27 when a mugger approached and knocked him in the back of the head with a bottle, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Shepherd blacked out briefly and was then punched in the face as the attacker screamed, “Give me your (expletive) phone.”
Shepherd thought he had taken the man’s phone by mistake, but quickly realized the man was trying to rob him.
“He picked the wrong guy,” Shepherd, a five-time world champion kickboxer, told the Post.
Shepherd has fought professionally since 1975. He laced into the attacker, throwing a right cross and then a right hook, sending the mugger crumpling to the ground.
“I felt (his ribs) crack,” Shepherd said.
Bystanders saw the melee and, thinking it was a street brawl, intervened, which allowed the attacker to run away during the confusion.
Investigators are searching for him. He is believed to be homeless and in his early 20s with long, dark hair.
Shepherd suffered a ruptured eardrum and a cut around his left eye, the Post reported.
He hopes the injuries will not hinder him when, in March, he plans to become the oldest person to be in a professional fight.
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