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Mugger attacked 68-year-old — but didn’t know he’s a kickboxing world champion, cops say

Steve Shepherd, a 68-year-old five-time world kickboxing champion, beat up a mugger who attacked him in West Palm Beach, Florida, and tried to steal his phone, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says.
Steve Shepherd, a 68-year-old five-time world kickboxing champion, beat up a mugger who attacked him in West Palm Beach, Florida, and tried to steal his phone, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says. Screengrab from WPTV

As 68-year-old Steve Shepherd was walking in West Palm Beach, Florida, a man came up from behind and tried to mug him, police say.

But Shepherd said that assailant “picked the wrong guy” — because he has been a world champion kickboxer on five separate occasions, according to The Palm Beach Post.

“My claim to fame is I beat the guy who knocked out Mike Tyson,” Shepherd told WPTV.

The assault happened last Thursday afternoon, police say, as Shepherd was walking back to his car after grabbing some food at a Mexican restaurant, according to CBS12. Shepherd, who was limping with a leg injury, described the next sequence of events as “all of a sudden, BAM!”

Police say surveillance footage showed the mugger “pacing back and forth in a nearby alleyway for a few hours, apparently waiting to mug someone,” according to The Palm Beach Post. At first, Shepherd “blacked out” after the man used a bottle to wack him in the head.

The 68-year-old said he was in a daze when he finally regained consciousness.

“Then, he started yelling at me, ‘Give me your effing phone,’” Shepherd recalled, according to CBS12. “Then, I started thinking, maybe I picked the wrong phone at the restaurant.”

But Shepherd said he didn’t back down — and instead fought back. He aimed a punch at the man’s ribs when he left them exposed, according to WPTV.

“I’m sure I broke his ribs. I could hear it almost,” Shepherd told WPTV. “I hit him with what’s called a right cross as he was still coming at me.”

The suspect ran away when people rushed to separate him from Shepherd. The onlookers confused it for a “street fight,” according to The Palm Beach Post. Police say the unidentified mugger appears to be in “his early 20s with long, dark hair,” the newspaper reported.

Shepherd — who said the fight left him “really hurt” — is training for a fight in March, according to CBS12. It would make him the “oldest professional fighter,” the outlet reported, and give him his first taste of action since he stopped competing in 2000.

And what does he have to say to the man who attacked him?

“I kind of feel sorry for him,” the 68-year-old told WPTV.

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