Sport : Boxing

Flintoff gets Cleverly backing

6th September 2012, 03:42pm

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Andrew Flintoff: Set for a career in the ring

Andrew Flintoff: Set for a career in the ring

Andrew Flintoff's plans to embark on a professional boxing career have been backed by WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly, with the Welshman even offering to spar the cricket legend.

Former England all-rounder Flintoff has announced his intention to make his debut in Manchester.

The 34-year-old is planning to fight in a heavyweight bout at the city's MEN Arena on November 30, although he must first be granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Flintoff is being trained by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and McGuigan's son Shane as part of a TV documentary.

While leading promoter Frank Warren was more sceptical, Cleverly encouraged him.

"It's his decision," said the mathematics graduate.

"It's obviously quite late in his career to take up boxing but if he fancies it then go for it.

"It's a tough sport but you can also get a great buzz from it.

"When you're in that ring, in battle with another fighter, and when you come out victorious, it's an unbelievable feeling.

"It's a brilliant buzz. So if he fancies giving it a crack, then go for it.

"He'd be more than welcome to come and do a bit of sparring with me. It's good for the profile of the sport, to have someone with that kind of name getting involved."

Warren was more cautious.

"It's a bit of an old age to be doing it but he's going to fight," he warned. "I'm not promoting it by the way!

"Who knows. We'll see. I can't think of anyone at 34 years of age becoming a professional fighter and doing well. I'd be very, very surprised. I might take up cricket.

"You can't just say 'I'm going to be a boxer'. You've actually got to get down to some serious training, because somebody is going to hit you. You can't take it lightly, in any way. He's actually a sportsman to start with, so he's got that going for him, but I just can't see at the age of 34 - I don't care how seriously he takes it - that going anywhere.

"But we'll see if it captures everybody's imagination.

"Barry McGuigan seems to think he can do it, so we'll see."

Warren added: "Let's get it right, it's got massive curiosity value. Who knows, he might surprise everybody."

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