Merton’s police boss survived a punishing night of boxing after stepping in the ring with a former world heavyweight champion.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Williams, the borough commander, said he was “delighted” to remain standing after taking on ‘Terrible’ Tim Witherspoon in support of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity on Friday, at Birdcage Walk in central London.

The two-time world champion, now 54, had warned he would “hit Darren Williams with everything I’ve got and put a sign over his eyes that says ‘closed for the weekend’.”

But, in scenes reminiscent of the Hollywood movie, Rocky, Williams stood toe-to-toe with Witherspoon throughout the four-round bout, on a night which raised £100,000.

He said: “I loved it and got some really good feedback. I think they didn’t realise I would go for it and land some punches of my own.

“Now I’m walking around with marks on my face and bruised ribs, but it was completely worth it.”

Mr Williams’ bout with Witherspoon was the main event in a night packed full of boxing royalty, which also featured Richie Woodhall, Glen Catley and Colin McMillan.

The borough commander added: “The only one not there was Chris Eubank, but after one phone call he soon arrived in a taxi.”

Plans are already afoot hold a similar event next year in which celebrities take on former boxing pros in another charity fundraising event.

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff is being touted by organisers as one of the main contenders, after he announced last month that he intended to take up boxing.