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Former Olympian Saves 8-Year-Old Boy From Pit Bull Attack

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A boy from the Chatham neighborhood survived a pit bull attack on Saturday, in part because of a quick-thinking neighbor; but he's no ordinary guy. Danell "Doc" Nicholson is a former Olympian and world champion heavyweight boxer.

Nicholson has traveled the world as a professional boxer, gone round-for-round with the best, and even competed for the U.S. on the 1992 Olympic boxing team; but his latest challenger was no contender, it was a 70-pound pit bull that came running out of a Chatham home and into a crowd of children.

"I'm a little sore," he said a day after the attack. "It feels like I had a fight with a beast."

Police said the dog got loose from a home in the 100 block of East 90th Street around 2 p.m. Saturday. For some reason, the dog focused on 8-year-old Demarcus Feltus, who was playing with friends.

"He jumped on me, and started chewing through my leg," Demarcus said.

Understandably, Demarcus and his friends began screaming.

"I was frightened that nobody would help," he said.

Fortunately, Nicholson heard the commotion, grabbed a golf club, and tried to beat the dog away. The club broke off in his hand, and the dog started coming after Nicholson, who started punching the dog.

He recalled the life-saving encounter blow by blow.

"Every time he'd reach, I'd counter," he said. "He had my hand in his mouth."

At one point, Nicholson said he was down on one knee, choking the dog.

Nicholson suffered bites to his legs, stomach, and hands.

"He was strong as hell," Nicholson said.

Ruth Baltimore, Marcus' grandmother, said she's glad Nicholson was stronger.

"I know it could have been much worse, had he not been there, because he sustained a lot of injuries trying to save my grandson," she said.

For his part, Nicholson said he's not a hero.

"I'm doing what I think any man should have done, and stepped up to the plate on an injured young kid. I'd do it anytime," he said.

The dog's owner was cited for failure to restrain the dog, and for not having a dog license.

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