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Boxing debut no gimmick: Flintoff

Manchester: Former England cricket hero Andrew Flintoff has found himself on the back foot even before he throws his first punch for money in the boxing ring on Friday night.

Freddie, as he is fondly known in Britain, is being filmed as part of a documentary series on Sky television, “Flintoff: From Lord’s To The Ring”, which culminates in his professional boxing debut against American Richard Dawson.

For the past five months the 34-year-old Flintoff has been trained by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and his son, Shane, as he gears up for four two-minute rounds against Dawson, who has won both his previous fights.

But he has received criticism that he is not taking boxing seriously and that Friday will be all about TV, not sport, with British promoter Frank Maloney hitting out at boxing authorities over the decision to grant Flintoff a licence.

“I understand people are protective of the sport, but I’m going in the ring on Friday and that’s what all my energy is going into,” Flintoff said. (PTI)