I’m back, howzat! England and Lancashire cricket hero Andrew Flintoff returns to sport – as heavyweight boxer

By Dean Wilkins

After two years away from the crease, England and Lancashire cricketing hero Andrew Flintoff is returning to sport by trying his hands at heavyweight boxing.

‘Freddie’ was forced to retire from international cricket in 2009 after failing to recover from a recurring knee injury – caused by years of abuse from his physical size.

But the 34-year-old fast-bowler is bidding to become a big-hitter after securing his debut bout on November 30 and is working with by former world champion Barry McGuigan.

Flintoff, who famously led England to victory against Australia in the 2005 Ashes, 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. I have a long road ahead and a lot of work in front of me. The stakes are high.”

McGuigan’s son Shane – who has also trained boxer Carl Frampton – is preparing Freddie and claimed there’s added pressure for the 6ft 4inch star.

“It is an enormous undertaking to have a professional fight having no experience whatsoever,” he said. “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.”

Flintoff’s team are yet to apply for a professional licence and the British Board of Boxing Control said they had not interviewed him.

The Preston-born man’s road to the ring will be aired in a two-part documentary before the bout takes place at the Manchester Arena.

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