Ex-cricketer Flintoff wins on boxing debut but coy about fight future

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff made a winning start to his professional boxing career against American Richard Dawson.

Story highlights

  • Former England all-rounder makes winning debut in the boxing ring against American Richard Dawson
  • Flintoff recovers from being knocked down in the second round to win on points in four-round bout
  • The 34-year-old's entry into boxing has been controversial, one promoter calling it "dangerous nonsense"
  • Former teammate Steve Harmison tweets: "Great win @flintoff11!!! But please don't do it again mate!!!"

More used to walloping cricket balls than opponents, Andrew Flintoff successfully swapped batting gloves for boxing gloves on Friday night beating American opponent, Richard Dawson in their heavyweight fight at the Manchester Arena, England.

Despite being knocked to the floor in the second round, the former England cricketer recovered to win on points (39 to 38) in the four-round bout witnessed by a 5,000-strong crowd which included former teammates Steve Harmison and Rob Key.

"As a personal achievement, this tops the lot," Flintoff said.

"The crowd made a massive difference tonight. I'll appreciate I was sloppy at times, but it was a humbling moment."

Flintoff, who entered the ring wearing the shirt of his county cricket club Lancashire, had the better of the exchanges in the opening round, but was knocked to the canvas by the 23-year-old Dawson during the second.

The 34-year-old was quick to recover though and made the referee's count comfortably before going on to dominate the final two rounds and secure the points victory.

Flintoff announced his intentions to start boxing professionally in September and trained with former Irish world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and his son Shane in preparation for his first fight. But his decision has caused controversy.

British boxing promoter Frank Warren, whose BoxNation channel showed the fight, said in September that it would be "car-crash television," while Frank Maloney, who managed former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, described the bout as "dangerous nonsense."

Despite a successful start, Flintoff remains uncertain about his future in the sport saying he will delay a decision until the new year.

"I want some time off, have a nice Christmas. After Christmas I will start to decide what to do. It is quite fresh, still quite raw what happened."

Flintoff maybe unsure what course to take, but many may agree with the comments of his friend and fellow paceman Steve Harmison.

"Great win @flintoff11!!!" Harmison tweeted, "But please don't do it again mate!!!"

Flintoff played 79 Tests and 141 One-Day Internationals for England in an international career spanning 11 years and was a key member of England's Ashes-winning teams against Australia in 2005 and 2009. He retired from all forms of cricket in 2010.