Flintoff pulls his punches over future in ring
Flintoff pulls his punches over future in ring
The former England cricket captain beat Dawson 39-38 on points after a lively affair in front of 5,000 raucous fans at the Manchester Arena, but only after being knocked down in the second round of the four-round contest.
The 34-year-old said he will wait until after Christmas before deciding if he will continue his foray into the paid-ranks of boxing.
“I really enjoyed it. I said at the start that I knew I was starting at a novice level,” said the former England all-rounder, who sported a black eye in his post-fight news conference.
“I want some time off, have a nice Christmas. After Christmas I will start to decide what to do. It is quite fresh, still quite raw what happened.” Flintoff had been accused in some boxing quarters of demeaning the sport by thinking he could just casually walk into the professional ranks.
But that did not stop former England teammates, Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison, being at ringside to see the man who was twice an Ashes winner during his cricket career.
Flintoff entered the ring wearing the shirt of his county team, Lancashire.
But it was a walk very different to the one he used to make from the pavilion to the crease, this time the roped-off ring awaited him after Dawson had entered to a chorus of boos.
It was, by Flintoff’s admission, a sluggish affair but he started the fight well, pawing out jabs while Dawson looked disinterested from the off.
But in the second round, the American caught him off balance with an accurate, but hardly powerful, left that put the Englishman on the canvas.
He beat the count and recovered, before regaining his composure and dominating the final two rounds to deservedly take the contest.
“It was probably everything and more,” said Flintoff.
“It was not one for the purists. Walking out there with the crowd, completely different feeling than I ever had before.
“I think I got the full experience. I got the canvas, black eye and the win. It was like an out of body experience.
“Shane (McGuigan, his coach) said you worked so hard don’t leave anything in the ring. In my cricket career that was similar to how I played. It was a bit ragged and arms going, I just wanted to leave it all in the ring.
“This was not about degrading boxing, we wanted to show boxing as it is, a fantastic thing.”
Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach
- Left-armer is fit after a knee injury
- 'He’s fine, he’s ready to go'
LONDON: Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir is “100 percent ready” for the first Test against England at Lord’s starting on Thursday despite a knee injury, according to team coach Mickey Arthur.
The left-arm fast bowler was seen stretching out his right knee as Pakistan beat Test debutants Ireland by five wickets during a one-off match in Malahide, Dublin concluded last week.
Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested Amir had suffered a recurrence of a “chronic” problem.
But head coach Arthur, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday, had no qualms about the fitness of Amir.
“He’s perfect, 100 percent,” Arthur insisted. “He’s fine, he’s ready to go.”
As for Amir, missing Pakistan’s final warm-up match ahead of the two-Test England series, last weekend’s drawn match against Leicestershire, Arthur added: “It was his rotation. (Mohammad) Abbas sat out the first (tour) game, Hasan (Ali) sat out the second, so he sat out the third.”
Amir was the hottest property in world cricket after bursting on the scene as a teenager in 2009 and at 18 he was the youngest bowler to have taken 50 Test wickets.
But his world was turned upside down in 2010 when he became involved in a spot-fixing scandal after deliberately bowling no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England — an incident that would eventually see him sent to prison by an English court and given a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council.
Amir’s first 14 Tests saw him take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 apiece, figures that had him on course to be an all-time great.
But the 17 Tests since his comeback two years ago have seen him take 49 wickets at a more expensive average of 34.91
Amir, and Pakistan for that matter, have not been helped by the fact that those 17 Tests since 2016 have also seen 16 catches dropped off his bowling.
The stigma of his spot-fixing exile has started to fade, with Amir playing for Pakistan during their 2-2 draw in a four-Test series in England two years ago.
He also starred for Essex as they won English domestic cricket’s first-class County Championship title last season.
Now the 26-year-old Amir is set to be the leader of an inexperienced Pakistan attack.
England, who didn’t manage a single win during their recent seven combined Tests in Australia and New Zealand, collapsed to 58 all out in Auckland in March as Kiwi left-arm quick Trent Boult took six wickets.
And Arthur backed Amir to do similar damage
“I think Mohammad Amir is the finest exponent of pace and swing when he gets it 100 percent right,” Arthur said.
“We’ve used that spell that Trent Boult bowled in Auckland. We’ve had a look at his lengths.
“We believe he (Amir) bowls incredibly well at left-handers and there will be three left-handers (Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan) in the (England) top four.
“He’s ready, I just hope it goes really well for him because he’s been unlucky at times with the amount of dropped catches.
“He’s ready, he’s determined, he’s fit, he’s strong, he’s excited, he’s in a very good place at the moment.”
Arthur is unusual in having served as the head coach of three leading nations — his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
But he was adamant he had no desire to replace Trevor Bayliss when the Australian steps down as England coach next year.
“No, I’m very happy,” Arthur said. “I’d like to keep going with Pakistan for as long as they will have me because it’s unfinished business for us at the moment. This is a very young cricket team and I worry if we move on what happens to these guys. Their fitness regime is outstanding, they are training hard and they are enjoying their cricket. I’m very, very happy with where I am at the moment,” he insisted.