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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Cricket

Flintoff comes off canvas to win debut fight
AFP
Manchester, December 01, 2012
First Published: 23:46 IST(1/12/2012)
Last Updated: 23:47 IST(1/12/2012)

Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff came off the canvas to mark his professional boxing debut with a points win over American heavyweight Richard Dawson on Friday.

The 34-year-old was floored in the second round of a lively affair but after dominating the other three rounds had his hand rightly raised in victory on a score of 39-38 on the referee's scorecard.

It was a deserved win for the former England and Lancashire fast-bowling all-rounder who dropped three-and-a-half stone to weigh in at 15st 6lb for his first foray into boxing after a five-month training camp with former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan.

Flintoff, who was perceived as overweight during his days playing cricket, certainly took the training seriously for this as he looked in much better shape than his American opponent in the four-round clash.

The unbeaten Dawson did not have much more experience in the ring himself with just two previous outings against opponents without wins, and he gave away five inches to the taller Flintoff while carrying in almost an extra two stone in weight.

Around 5,000 fans turned up at the Manchester Arena -- including a mix of boxing fans, those who followed Flintoff's cricket career and some who were just intrigued to find out how an ex-cricketer could get on in the boxing world.

Some of Flintoff's former England team-mates, including Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison amongst others, were ringside to see the man more known for knocking wickets down than fighters,

The 34-year-old entered the ring in a Lancashire cricket shirt but it was a walk very different to the one he used to make from the pavilion to the crease, this time the roped-off ring awaited him after Dawson had entered to a chorus of boos.


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