LONG BRANCH, N.J. — A former professional boxer is searching for the man who rescued him after he nearly drowned in a rip current at the Jersey shore.

Trouble for recently retired welterweight fighter Dustin Fleischer began when decided to body surf at Long Branch Beach on Friday night, the Asbury Park Press reported (http://on.app.com/2xICVKS). The physically fit 28-year-old quickly realized he was no match for a rip current that carried him out about 30 yards.

Fleischer swam parallel to the waves for 15 minutes before becoming exhausted.

"I kept trying to swim in, but the waves were so choppy. I started to feel helpless. I started to panic a little. I was getting tired, and I felt myself breathing really fast," Fleischer said.

He heard a man directing him to ride the waves in.

"That produced a sense of relief in me. I was so disoriented, I didn't know where I was. But I listened to him, and it took me three or four waves to get in," Fleischer said.

Fleischer then reached a sandbar and was pulled to shore by the good Samaritan.

The Monmouth Beach resident never got the rescuer's name but hopes he can offer his personal thanks to the man.

Fleischer boasted an impressive 6-0 record with five knockouts by the time he retired from the ring. Without the help of a good Samaritan, the former boxer could have drowned.

"That was the toughest fight of my life," Fleischer said.