Photo/IllutrationEvander Holyfield, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, removes debris left behind by Typhoon No. 15 in Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture, on Oct. 3. (Tomomi Terasawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYONAN, Chiba Prefecture--Former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield is still knocking out people, but these days it's with kindness instead of his fists.

Holyfield, 56, put his powerful muscles to work here on Oct. 3 helping clean up debris left from a recent powerful typhoon that caused major damage in the area.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee has long been interested in doing charitable work in Japan, and he visited here as he wanted to help out after learning of the destruction wrought by Typhoon No. 15 on Sept. 9.

On Oct. 3, Holyfield visited the home of Etsuko Okumura, 65, where debris such as roof tiles remained piled high. Holyfield helped load debris onto two small trucks along with help from other volunteers.

After the work was done, Holyfield shook hands with Okumura who thanked him, saying, “It was very helpful.” The former champion smiled.

The same day Holyfield also visited Kyonan Kindergarten and Kyonan Elementary School to encourage children there. He played with kids, holding them up and doing high-fives, and handed out snacks, fruits and blankets.

“When seeing the situation at the site, I understood that much more support is needed. I want to continue doing such volunteer activities,” Holyfield said.

Holyfield, known as the "Real Deal," had an outstanding boxing career before his final bout in 2011, winning five world titles over four decades in the ring.

His most infamous bout came in a rematch he gave to Mike Tyson in 1997 after he had knocked him out the previous year to win the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship. Tyson was disqualified after biting off part of Holyfield's ear in the third round.