A POLICE officer who made his professional boxing debut at the age of 38 emerged victorious in his first - and last - fight.

Metropolitan police officer Paul Reading, from Hitchin, scored a narrow points victory over Lithuania’s Rolandas Cesna to post his first victory as a professional heavyweight boxer.

He won by 38 points to 37 after four rounds at the Bedford Corn Exchange.

“I made quite a slow start to the fight and got tagged with a few hard punches in the first round,” said Paul.

“I realised right away that my game plan of keeping him backed up on the end of a stiff left jab was not going to work. So, I changed tactics, opting to dig in at the centre of the ring and meet his attacks with well-timed counterpunches.

“I have a lot of respect for Cesna. He was very tough and awkward to fight.

“I’ve been boxing for 25 years, during which I’ve had high points and low points. I’ve just won a bruising professional bout with a strong, committed young opponent, fighting on the same bill as [a] former European heavyweight champion. So I feel I’ve got nothing left to prove to myself and can end my competitive career on a high.”

Paul now plans to help out coaching young amateur fighters at North Herts Amateur Boxing Club, which meets at the Wayne Armstrong Boxing Gym where Paul trained for his big fight.

“I now want to channel my energy into coaching young amateur fighters. With the experience of more than 60 amateur bouts – plus the pro fight – I believe I’ve got a lot to offer as a coach and instructor,” he added.

“Boxing is great for young people, channelling their energy constructively and teaching them important life skills, such as self-discipline, self-control and respect for others.”