WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — An attempted robbery suspect picked the wrong senior citizen to attack.
Steve Shepherd, a 68-year-old five-time world kickboxing champion, turned the tables on the aggressive attacker before scaring him off last Thursday afternoon.
Shepherd said he was leaving Anita’s Mexican Restaurant in suburban West Palm Beach when he got about halfway to his car.
“All of a sudden, BAM,” Shepherd yelled.
He said a man in his twenties hit him in the back of the head with a bottle and ambushed him, demanding his cellphone.
Shepherd said he blacked out for few seconds.
“Then, he started yelling at me, ‘Give me your effing phone,'” he said. “Then, I started thinking, maybe I picked the wrong phone at the restaurant."
Shepherd said the crook was angry and didn’t stop attacking. Bystanders tried to break it up.
“They were holding me and him back," he said. "His ribs were exposed and so I hit him in the ribs. I heard it crack and he dropped."
The injured mugger eventually took off.
Shepherd believes the crook may have thought he was perfect target because he was limping to his car after recently pulling a muscle in his leg.
Shepherd suffered a small cut and bruising around his left eye. He is also recovering from a ruptured ear drum.
“It really hurt. I went to the hospital,” he said.
His message for everyone, no matter how big and tough you are, is you should always be aware of your surroundings.
“I could’ve been worse," Shepherd said. "He could’ve snipped me, he could’ve shot me, you know? He could’ve had a metal bar.”
There are Attempted to Identify posters swirling social media now.
Although he is still out there, that is not stopping the champion.
Shepherd said he’s been a Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame Members since the early 1980s.
“My claim to fame is I beat the guy who knocked out Mike Tyson,” he said with a smile on his face.
He is currently the owner of KickBox-SuperFIT in downtown West Palm Beach. He’s now training to return to the ring as the oldest professional fighter.
The match is set for March.
Meanwhile, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man caught on surveillance video. Investigators believe the man involved is in his twenties and may be homeless.
If you have any information on the suspect, contact Det. J. McGehee at 561-688-4727 or email Mcgeheej@pbso.com.