Flintoff coy on future
Andrew Flintoff was non-committal over his boxing future after climbing from the canvas to score a debut points win over American heavyweight Richard Dawson at the Manchester Arena.
The former Lancashire and England cricket star was sent to the canvas by a counter left from the 23-year-old Dawson but the greater work-rate and intent displayed by the 34-year-old was enough to edge four two-minute rounds 39-38.
"I'm going to have such a good Christmas," he said when asked about his future plans. "I've really enjoyed it. I knew I was starting at a novice level. We've seen that tonight - I'm under no illusions."
He went on: "I just want some time off, having a nice Christmas and not having to get up every day and going through what I've been through for the past four-and-a-half months.
"Then, after Christmas, I'll decide what I'm going to do next but I'm not going to come out with anything at this moment in time.
"It's still quite fresh and still quite raw what's happened."
Criticism of a largely unsightly spectacle continued afterwards, particularly on social media sites, while experienced referee Phil Edwards also came under scrutiny for only awarding Dawson a 10-9 round in the second despite the scored knockdown meriting a 10-8.
It seems unlikely the predictably divisive reaction to an event rapturously received by the 6,000 in attendance will unduly trouble Flintoff, who ranks his boxing journey as a proud personal achievement.
"On a global scale, it's obviously nowhere near (cricket)," he said. "I've had a novice heavyweight fight and it was brilliant."
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