In one corner there was Decca “The Machine” Heggie, a bare-knuckle boxer from Carlisle who has been travelling from Cumbria four days a week to train in the boxing arena of Hawick’s Thinkfitness Gym.
In the opposite corner was Stevan “Killer” Miller, a six-foot six-inch, 21-stone giant who has been bodyguard to such celebrities as Tina Turner, Madonna and Rod Stewart.
The setting was Leicester. The occasion, the Raging Bull UK Heavyweight Bare Knuckle Boxing Championship. The outcome – a draw after six bruising rounds.
Speaking after his latest fight, Decca told The Southern: “Draws are very rare in bare-knuckle boxing, for normally someone gets knocked out.
“I was up against a hard man in my opponent, but I can look after myself and it ended up being some fight. We were both a bit smashed up around the face at the finish, but that’s the way it is in bare-knuckle boxing.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t win as I thought I had the better of the fight. However, there is going to be a rematch in Carlisle in April and a crowd of 4,000 is expected. I will be the local man and I want to be the local hero in getting a win.”
Weighing in at 17-and-a-half stone, Decca added: “I owe my coach Patrick Milroy, from Earlston, who has improved my technique and I have learnt from him about boxing. He is a top coach and I respect him a lot.”
Talking of his involvement with the Thinkfitness Gym, 30-year-old Decca said: “The venue is a perfect place for me to train.
“Since going there I have got to know and made friends with Hawick people, and I hear that some of them are coming to watch me in the return fight, which is just great.”
Decca’s link with Hawick does not stop with the gym as he now has a Hawick manager in local businessman Ricky Banger, who runs the Saffron Restaurant and New Delhi Bar. Banger said: “It’s a new challenge for me, but I will be looking after Decca’s affairs so that he can simply keep his head clear for boxing. He has a cracking future ahead of him in bare-knuckle fighting.”
Greg Dalgleish, from the Thinkfitness Gym, commented: “We are glad that Decca has chosen our facilities to train in. He trains really hard and is dedicated to his boxing.”