Flintoff shapes up for boxing show

Former England cricket hero Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff is to try his hand at boxing in a new TV series for Sky. The famously combative fast bowler will pull on the gloves in preparation for a live bout against a professional boxer.

The Gloves Are Off will follow Flintoff’s preparation for the fight in two hour-long special documentaries, with training provided by former world champion Barry McGuigan.

Flintoff has been attempting to launch a career in the media since his retirement from cricket, but this will be a chance to reclaim a little sporting attention. "It’s an amazing opportunity to try a sport that I love," Flintoff said, "to be tutored by a man I respect and admire and, at the age of 34, the chance to be a professional sportsman again."

Flintoff has the height and build of a boxer, but it will be a daunting task to equip him with the necessary protective instincts and ringcraft to make him a credible fighter in the limited amount of time available. "It's a huge challenge," he admitted, "probably the biggest I have ever undertaken, especially in such a short time frame. I have a long road ahead and a lot of work in front of me. The stakes are high."

Flintoff’s bout will be shown live on Sky’s dedicated boxing channel. Trainer McGuigan said: "It is an enormous undertaking to have a professional fight having no experience whatsoever. It is even more demanding when you're a legend in another sport. But I'm convinced Freddie will make a successful pro debut as a boxer."

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