Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Freddie swaps fielding for fighting

Former cricketer Andrew Flintoff is making a TV show about boxing

Ex-England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff is aiming to become a big hitter in sport once more - as a heavyweight boxer.

The 34-year-old has been working with ring legend Barry McGuigan for the past month in a bid to prepare for his debut on November 30.

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, who famously led the England team to victory against Australia in the 2006 Ashes, retired from cricket two years ago.

The 6ft 4ins star said: "This is an amazing opportunity to try a sport that I love, to be tutored by a man I respect and admire and, at the age of 34, the chance to be a professional sportsman again.

"It's a huge challenge - probably the biggest I have ever undertaken, especially in such a short timeframe.

"I have a long road ahead and a lot of work in front of me. The stakes are high."

McGuigan - whose son Shane is training Flintoff - said: "It is an enormous undertaking to have a professional fight having no experience whatsoever. It is even more demanding when you're a legend in another sport.

"The pressure for Freddie, myself and my son is phenomenal given the little time we have. But I'm convinced Freddie will make a successful pro debut as a boxer."

His preparations for the fight are to be documented in a special two-part programme - The Gloves Are Off... - to be aired on Sky 1, which will also screen a one-hour post-fight special.

The bout at Manchester Arena will also be shown on boxing channel BoxNation.

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