ANDREW Flintoff was cheered on by a contingent from St Annes Cricket Club as he celebrated his first professional boxing bout with a win.
John Cotton, chairman of the Vernon Road-based club and a team-mate of Flintoff when the ex-Lancashire and England all-rounder played for St Annes in the early 1990s, made the trip to the Manchester Arena for the bout and was delighted with the result.
But he said he would like to think the bout was a one-off for the former England all-rounder, who also had plenty of support from ex-cricketing team-mates such as Darren Gough, Steve Harmison and Warren Hegg.
Flintoff, who joined St Annes as 12-year-old in 1989 and spent five years at the club before signing a contract at Lancashire, switched sports to defeat American Richard Dawson in his first professional fight.
“He looked fit and it was good to see him get the win but hopefully he has fulfilled his ambition now and that is the end of the boxing for him,” said John. “He put a lot of work into his preparations and it showed. It was a great atmosphere and the vast majority of the eight or nine thousand who were in the venue were delighted with the win. Andy had done what he set out to achieve and hopefully now that’s it as far as the boxing is concerned.
“I had a quick word with his mum and dad afterwards and I know they are keen for there to be no more boxing.”
Flintoff has indicated that his debut bout, which consisted of four two-minutes rounds, could be a one-off.
Following the fight, the 34-year-old, who entered the ring wearing the colours of Lancashire County Cricket Club, referred to how tough the preparations were - but stopped short of confirming whether or not he would return to the ring.
“We’ll see how we go,” he said. “It’s not natural to me, I’ve had to work so hard, I can’t believe the feeling of being in there and winning at the end – but I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not.”