THE man who saved Accrington Stanley from a financial knockout is limbering up for another mammoth challenge – taking on a former world boxing heavyweight champ.

Millionaire merchant banker Ilyas Khan hopes to outfox American Tim Witherspoon, who has boxed legends such as Larry Holmes and James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith, and dismantled Frank Bruno in 1986.

The pair will clash for char-ity at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel on Thursday, June 3 to raise money for Leonard Cheshire Disability, of which Mr Khan is chairman.

Underdog Khan, 47, has pledged to box in full Stanley kit, and is confident, despite giving away four inches in height and about six stones to his opponent.

Mr Khan said: “Since completing the London Marathon last month I have been in boxing training every two days and I’m going to go to a specialist boxing camp for a week soon.

“At 47 I’m in reasonable shape, but I’m giving away many inches, many pounds, and a lot of reach.

"But I think I might be a little quicker than him.

“My wife is worried about me being hurt, but if I take a hit then I’ll just think about the money it’s raising.”

Mr Khan boxed as a teenager ‘to keep myself out of trouble’, and after giving up on football in his mid-30s, he took the sport back up to keep fit.

He said: “Boxing training is brutal.

"I have started some focused punch bag and skipping work, and I have been in a five-round sparring session that was enough to floor me.

“There is no doubt that professional boxers are among the fittest athletes in the world.”

Nicknamed ‘Terrible’, Witherspoon, 52,is a two-time heavyweight champion of the world.

Out of 69 professional fights, he won 55 (38 as a knock out), lost 13 and drew one.

Call 01254 356950 for tickets.