6th September 2012

Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff has confirmed he is embarking on a career as a professional boxer.

Flintoff, who retired from professional cricket two years ago due to ongoing injury, is being trained by former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and the former fighter’s son Shane, as he prepares for his stint has a boxer. 

The 34-year-old has announced his intention to fight at heavyweight and hopes to make his debut on November 30 in Manchester subject to being granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control, which he is yet to apply for.
“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,” said Flintoff.

“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.”

His preparations are set to be turned into a two-part television documentary called ‘The Gloves Are Off’, which will be shown on Sky 1 and BoxNation. 

Cricket to Boxing – Flintoff on the pads

‘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,’ said McGuigan.

‘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.’

Flintoff has yet to apply to the British Boxing Board of Control for a licence, and the process could take a few weeks according to the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, Robert Smith.

“Andrew Flintoff has not applied, nor has he been interviewed by anyone from the British Boxing Board of Control,” said Smith.

“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.”

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 (footballer) Curtis Woodhouse has done so very well.”

How do you see Freddie getting on as a heavyweight boxer?

In a remarkably short period of just four months, Freddie will undertake this mammoth challenge to get himself fit, ready and confident to step into the ring with professionals who have been training and fighting for years.

Freddie’s incredible journey from pro cricketer to pro boxer culminates in a live professional boxing fight at his hometown Manchester Arena – the venue for some of the biggest bouts in boxing history. 

Tickets for Freddie Flintoff: The Gloves Are Off on Friday 30 November go on sale at 9.00am tomorrow (Friday 7 September), priced from £25.00 – £100.00.

As Freddie steps into the iconic ring at the Manchester Arena, he joins an elite roll call of the biggest names in world boxing who have fought there before him, including David Haye, Mike Tyson, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.

Just a short journey away from where he made his cricketing name at Old Trafford and with his hometown crowd behind him, can Freddie do what no other sportsman has achieved before, and go from one professional sport to another – and win.

Freddie’s journey will be documented in a special two-part programme to be aired on Sky 1 along with a one hour post-fight special.  The programme will follow him through his grueling training regime, watching how he copes with the pressure of the challenge set before him.  It will give unprecedented access to his home life and work life as he keeps his eyes firmly on the prize and his whole world undergoes a spectacular transformation.

A challenge like no other, Freddie enters the ring as an unknown in the industry, making it surely one of the most exciting fights to be seen this year. Freddie’s fight starts now.

For tickets to the live event simply click on the find tickets button below, call 0844 847 8000, or buy in person, without a booking fee, from the Manchester Arena Box Office (credit/debit card charges apply) from 9.00am tomorrow.

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