An ex-paratrooper who lost his lower right leg in a blast in Afghanistan is now knocking out opponents in the boxing ring.

Corporal Michael Lewis, 36, of 2 Para, had his right lower leg blown off and nearly lost his left arm in a 4am skirmish in Afghanistan in 2008.

However, vowing he “wouldn’t go down without a fight” and with the help of a new prosthetic limb, called the Challenger, he took up boxing.

But he said finding his first opponent for a competitive match was tricky, because no-one wanted to beat or be beaten by a disabled boxer.

Father-of-one Michael lost the match but word spread the 88kg and 5ft 11ins former soldier was more than capable, and offers have now poured in.

The amateur boxer won his second match in a 98-second knock out, but lost his third.

Michael said: “There’s a window of time after a casualty where you either sink or swim. I’m a fighter by discipline, and I won’t go down without a fight.

“My first fight was in March, which I lost because it was all new to me. The guy I was up against was experienced - and 20kg heavier than me.

“In fact, before my first fight, I had a hard time trying to find a rival, because people either didn’t want to beat a disabled boxer or lose to one.

“But since March, the phone just hasn’t stopped ringing. All sorts of people have called saying they would like to give fighting me a go.

“I won my second fight in June, in the first round - a knock-out in one minute and 38 seconds. I was astonished by what happened.”

As a corporal with the Colchester battalion, Michael, and the two platoons he was co-leading, came under enemy fire during a village raid near Sangin, Afghanistan, on August 25, 2008.

During the 4am skirmish, nearly 50 British soldiers came under intense artillery fire from friendlies 30 metres back, he said.

He explained: “Both platoons were quickly outnumbered by the Taliban.”

Michael woke up to find he’d been flung 10 metres and had lost his right foot.

His left arm was nearly severed in half, while he suffered minor abrasions to the head and shrapnel wounds to his left knee.

He survived thanks to an incredible emergency evacuation, when pals carried him for a mile on a stretcher.

Michael lost his right leg below the knee 24 hours later in a military hospital in England.

A bionic foot - called the Challenger Foot - was attached, as Michael began a long period of rehabilitation.

He was supported by the Royal British Legion and Support Our Paras and medically discharged in March 2012.

Michael said he “felt a strong sense of obligation towards doing what I can now to help these amazing charities do the amazing work they do”.

He began working as a community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in October 2014, and helps to raise money for the Poppy Appeal all year round.

With over 360 hours of training under his belt, he’s competed twice this year already, and raised £4,000 for the Royal British Legion.

Michael said: “Boxing was something new that I could learn and throw myself into. It helped with my rehabilitation and was a real challenge.

“I’ve always been fitness-minded but when I started boxing, I would be throwing up during training sessions for the first first weeks.”

He’s now raising money for Support Our Paras, which provides welfare services for parachutists and their families.

Support Our Paras said it is “delighted” Michael was supporting the charity, and has the para has “shown a courageous determination to lead an active life which is typical of paratroopers and proves that disability is no obstacle to achieving”.

Royal British Legion’s Joanne Ticehurst, Community Fundraising Manager East, said: “Michael is an outstanding ambassador for the legion thanks to his passion, dedication to the charity’s work and determination to succeed.”