England news December 1, 2012

Flintoff wins on boxing debut

ESPNcricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff, the former England allrounder, picked himself up off the canvas to score a points victory on his boxing debut against the previously unbeaten American Richard Dawson in Manchester.

Flintoff has swapped the cricket square for the four-cornered ring, with his unlikely career move being filmed for a Sky TV documentary. He beat the count after being knocked to the canvas in the second round but his superior speed and work rate saw him awarded a narrow win by the judges.

Cheered on by his old international team-mate Darren Gough, Flintoff looked assured behind his jab but was extremely raw when going on the attack. However, after losing three-and-a-half stone during training, he has yet to decide whether he will fight again.

"I said at the start I knew I was starting at a novice level," Flintoff said. "You could see that, I am under no illusions and now I just want to take some time off. I want a rest, have a nice Christmas and not get up every day and go through what I have for the past five months. After Christmas I will decide what I will do next."

Flintoff's decision to step into the boxing ring has been criticised as a publicity stunt in some quarters, however. Frank Maloney, one of the most well-known promoters in British boxing, was dismissive of the bout and said Flintoff should not have been granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control.

"Last night was a joke," Maloney told The Telegraph. "The American looked like he was under orders. Once he'd knocked Flintoff down he backed off. All this does is deflect the attention from real boxers who have spent years in the gym and in the amateur ranks before developing careers in professional boxing.

"It was like watching two powder-puff punchers, and clearly Flintoff has no chin. If the Boxing Board allow Flintoff to continue boxing, they should be questioned over it. It was a novelty, and just a circus."

In front of a spirited home crowd, Flintoff entered the MEN Arena wearing a Lancashire Lightning shirt to the sound of Oasis' "Roll With It". The 34-year-old made a bright start, using his jab to good effect before sending the crowd wild with a big right against a cautious Dawson. However, Flintoff was sent to his knees after catching a right hand early in the second round, but he recovered well to keep himself in the fight.

Flintoff took the fight to Dawson, who seemed content to play defence, and after Flintoff landed some decent shots in the final round, the former England captain was awarded a 39-38 victory.

"As a personal achievement, I think this is the best. I've had to work so hard," Flintoff said. "The crowd made a massive difference tonight. I'll appreciate I was sloppy at times, but it was a humbling moment."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • narbavi on December 3, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Let's put Freddy in the ring with some of the lankan fans who claim some stuff without any evidence to back it up!!

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Flintoff's professional boxing debut has been covered by ESPNCricInfo because it is a stage in the life of an iconic England cricketer as he seeks fulfilment after retirement and the fight has received much attention, both positive and negative. It is just one part of our usual unrivalled commitment to a wide coverage of cricket in many forms and, as ever, readers will decide what interests them and what does not. Readership data suggests coverage of Flintoff's boxing debut has been sought after by many of our readers. This piece will shortly be replaced by Tanya Aldred's more considered take on the evening.

  • Jessee on December 1, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Congratulations to him. However I too don't fully understand the point of an article on here. Surely a Tweet would've been suffice.

  • gurinder on December 1, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    rigged fight for promoting sport , its common when a certain celebrety change sports

  • Nicholas on December 1, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    Disgusting, useless sport that deserves absolutely no mention on this website.

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Say what you like, the guy won............fair play to him.

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Well done Freddie!! One more thing to look back on even though you may never step into the ring again.but i think it's time you put your time and energy and give back to cricket, through administration or the media.

  • Mark on December 1, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Fred, you won't make a career of this. You didn't throw a single right that wasn't a slap until the last 30 seconds. You were brave. You went forward. You jabbed and jabbed like a pro but, you can't punch and a better boxer than Dawson will have you for breakfast! I could never be a pro boxer and nor can you. You've proved yourself, quit while ahead.

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