Michael Mather last boxed during his RAF service in the mid-1950s. But the Redbridge pensioner showed a pair of would-be thieves that he could still pack a punch.
The 77-year-old was outside his Clayhall home when two teenage boys wearing hoodies approached him, asking whether they could use his toilet. When he refused, they attempted to force their way in.
“As I turned around, one of them smashed me over the head with a thick log that still had the bark on it,” Mr Mather said. “My head just poured with blood and I was so, so angry.
“Before he could hit me again, I hit him in the solar plexus with my left hand, then on the nose with my right. His nose just splattered in front of me. I swore at them and I think I looked so fierce with blood pouring down my face that they turned round and skedaddled.”
The Woodford Liberal member received treatment for his wounds and was given a tetanus shot because of the bark on the log. “I think I broke my finger — maybe I hit him too hard,” he said. “I’m getting the results of the X-ray before shul on Friday night.”
In his youth, Mr Mather was a keen boxer who occasionally sparred with the Kray twins and British heavyweight boxing great Henry Cooper.
Police are seeking witnesses to the incident. “Mr Mather appears to have acted very bravely after he was subjected to quite a nasty attack,” an officer said.