Flintoff stepping into the ring

Andrew Flintoff

LONDON – Andrew Flintoff made his name by smashing sixes and taking wickets during a memorable career as English cricket’s premier all-rounder and he will get the chance to deliver some more knock-out blows after revealing his plan to become a professional boxer.

Flintoff, who was forced to quit cricket due to a series of injuries, is set to fight in a heavyweight bout at Manchester’s MEN Arena on November 30 and is being trained by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and McGuigan’s son Shane in preparation for the bout.

The 34-year-old’s experiences as a budding fighter are being turned into a two-part television documentary called The Gloves Are Off and he can’t wait to step into the ring after missing the buzz of professional sport since his retirement from cricket in 2010.

“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 become a professional sportsman again,” Flintoff said.

“It’s a huge challenge – probably the biggest I have ever undertaken, especially in such a short time-frame.

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

Flintoff still needs to be granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control before he can fight and Robert Smith, the organisation’s general secretary, said the former Lancashire star had not yet gone through the application process.

However, the licence application process normally lasts anything up to six weeks, giving Flintoff enough time to apply in the near future and fight on the November date.

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