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Flintoff wins debut

Afp
Sunday, December 02, 2012

MANCHESTER, England - 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 yesterday.

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

It was a deserved win for the former fast-bowling all-rounder who dropped more than 20kg to weigh in at 98kg for his first foray into boxing after a five-month training camp with former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan.

"As a personal achievement, this tops the lot," said Flintoff, who won two Ashes series during his cricket career.

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

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 12.5kg.

Around 5,000 fans turned up at the Manchester Arena — including Flintoff's former England teammates Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison who were ringside to see the man more known for knocking wickets down than fighters.

Flintoff dominated the opening round and then went wild at the start of the second and was duly punished.

After missing with a right, Dawson landed a lovely left hook that put Flintoff down but he climbed to his feet before taking the standing eight count.

He came out in the third a little less gung-ho and while able to push Dawson back, Flintoff's shots were still missing and turning into slaps but the occasional jab was getting through.

Dawson battled back towards the end of the third and landed a jab that flicked Flintoff's head back but the ex-cricketer kept the pressure on.

Flintoff again dominated the fourth, constantly coming forward with a barrage of shots that Dawson could not handle.


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