England cricket hero Andrew Flintoff hits back at criticism of his switch to boxing
Former England cricket hero Andrew Flintoff has hit back at claims his switch to boxing is a publicity stunt.
Last Updated: 15/11/12 1:22pm
Flintoff will make his professional boxing debut over four rounds against novice American Richard Dawson in Manchester on November 30.
His training camp has been filmed for a three-part Sky1HD series to be screened on November 22 and criticism of the project has been strong within boxing.
Promoters Frank Maloney and Frank Warren say Flintoff's sporting switch is a "joke" but both Flintoff and his trainer Barry McGuigan say the project is good for boxing.
"You couldn't go through this for a TV stunt," Flintoff said. "If I was looking for a publicity stunt I'd have picked something easier. There's other things I could have done.
"We want to show the sport in the best possible light because ultimately I'm a boxing fan as well."
McGuigan said: "You'll see the sort of pain and anguish that you go through to get ready for fights. How can that be negative for the sport? It promotes the sport. (The criticism) is a complete and utter load of nonsense."
Flintoff admits the transition from cricket all-rounder to boxer has been a serious challenge.
"One of the things I had to overcome is that I'm not the most confrontational bloke," he said.
"When I played cricket every now and then I would be, but it didn't bring out the best in me. There has to be a ruthless streak in the ring, so there's been a change mentally to achieve that.
"In cricket the mental aspect was tough but this has taken that to a whole new level. You're up and down all the time, you get nervous before a sparring session, you're on a high when you're in there and then an hour later you're flat.
"The diet's had its' moments....eating steak at 530am isn't the easiest. Giving up booze has been all right though. It's been a lifestyle change."