Boxing: Freddie was ready, but this was pure farce

The former cricketer won his first fight, but it wasn't boxing's finest hour

Since retiring from cricket, Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff has been on a mission to entertain. He has cliff-dived in Acapulco, ridden bulls in Texas, and even turned his hand to fashion designing, with a catalogue clothing line for the big-boned.

But he might have overstepped the mark with his latest venture, professional boxing. Critics dubbed his Friday night fight "a mockery" despite the result: a Flintoff victory over an American opponent, Richard Dawson, who looked as if he'd missed the memo to lay off the pies in the pre-match build up.

For some, the smiles had started earlier that day, with the pictures of Flintoff, 34, in his Union flag boxers at the weigh-in providing amusement to those stuck watching Sky News on a loop. Five months off the booze and a rigid training regime devised by the former world champion Barry McGuigan and his son Shane had done the trick abs-wise, but there was still something vaguely odd about fisticuffs Freddie getting ready for the ring.

As shows go, the evening was pure farce. But this wasn't theatre and the thousands watching were looking for more than mindless entertainment. The 6,000-strong Manchester crowd, which included front-rowers Darren Gough, Rob Key, Steve Harmison, Jack Whitehall and John Bishop, got their drama in the second of the four two-minute rounds, when the 23-year-old Dawson landed his only punch of the night, a left hook.

It was – briefly – nerve-wracking stuff, but Flintoff managed to blurt out his name during a standing count of eight and his win quickly followed. Despite Flintoff's fitness, even McGuigan will concede this was a match of novices, and technically Flintoff is probably still a cricketer.

That said, McGuigan was quick to bat off any suggestion this was anything other than A Very Serious Boxing Match. "Don't besmirch me," he said yesterday. "It was a very difficult fight for him. Anyone that says anything else is jealous and a green-eyed monster."

McGuigan added: "Yes, he got excited. Yes, he lost his composure a bit. But we proved resoundingly that he was prepared properly. We weren't trying to mock the game. We were celebrating this sport. It wasn't a publicity stunt, it was honest. How could it be anything other than that?"

The promoter Frank Maloney, who managed Lennox Lewis, has his theories. "As a spectator event it was a success, but as a boxing event it was a mockery. Henry Cooper would have been turning in his grave. After Dawson's punch was thrown, his [Flintoff's] eyes were wobbly, his head was wobbly. The American never threw another punch."

Whether Flintoff will return to the ring for a second go is something he intends to decide after Christmas. Maloney, for one, is imploring him to hang up those gloves. "He'll get hurt if he doesn't stop. How many more Mexican road sweepers can they dig up from the ground to fight him?" he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

Technical Account Manager - Java, FIX Protocol, FIX 5.0, C++

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...

WPF .NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform