Former England cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is swapping his cricket pads for boxing gloves in new Sky 1 series The Gloves Are Off. The 34 year old has been training with boxing legend Barry McGuigan who has described his right punch as ‘devastating’!
The 34-year-old has begun four months of training with boxing legend Barry McGuigan in preparation for a heavyweight bout against an as yet-unknown professional boxer.
The fight is planning to go-ahead at the city’s MEN Arena, although he must first be granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control. The build-up to the fight will be filmed and turned into a two-part documentary to be shown on Sky 1, in addition to an hour-long post-fight special.
Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said Flintoff had not yet applied for a licence, and the Board had not received an application for the show in question.
However, the licence application process normally lasts anything up to six weeks, giving Flintoff enough time to apply in the near future and fight, if his application is successful.
Smith went onto say; “An application can take three to four weeks or longer depending on the circumstances. He will have to pass medicals and there are measures in place to see whether an applicant can actually box.”
Flintoff would not be the first professional sportsman to undertake a boxing career with no experience. Former Sheffield United footballer Curtis Woodhouse made his boxing debut in 2002 and has won 16 of his 20 contests.
Smith added: “It is quite unusual. We haven’t had many people apply with no experience at all, but there is a history of footballers and rugby league players taking up boxing, and Curtis Woodhouse has done so very well.”
Flintoff played in 79 tests for England as an all-rounder before retiring from cricket in 2010 because of injury. He transcended sporting fame to become a national treasureby leading England to a famous Ashes victory in 2005 – their first test series win over Australia in almost two decades. He has made numerous media appearances since on sports panel shows and was a guest commentator during some matches of the 2011 Darts world championship in England.
Flintoff 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. The stakes are high.”
Former world featherweight champion McGuigan, who will train Flintoff alongside his son Shane, 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.”
Having knocked down many an off stump during his time as England cricket captain, Andrew Flintoff hopes to do the same to opponents when he takes to the boxing ring.
Should Flintoff’s boxing career take off, a fight against another multi-sport titan could be in the offing – All Black World Cup winning rugby player Sonny Bill Williams is the reigning New Zealand heavyweight champion.