sport

Flintoff focused on boxing bow

Andrew Flintoff is determined to block out his critics as he prepares for his boxing debut.

The former England Test captain has swapped the cricket oval for the ring and takes on American Richard Dawson at the MEN Arena on Friday evening.

"I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few nerves, but I've been nervous before playing cricket and used it to my advantage," the 34-year-old Flintoff, who played 79 Tests and 14 limited-overs matches for his country, told Sky Sports News.

"It's dragged on a little bit now, I'm glad it's finally come round and in Manchester tomorrow night hopefully all that hard work will pay off.

"There will be critics and doubters out there and it's a big task I've taken on, I'm just concentrating on the fight and we'll see what the reaction is.

"It depends if you take it on board - as a cricketer I didn't read too much of the press, I just wanted to be comfortable in what I'm doing.

"It's not something we're talking about in our camp, we're concentrating on tomorrow night and putting all the good work into practice."

Dawson has won his first two fights and Flintoff said: "He's fought before, he's unbeaten, he's flown over from America and he's made good progress in his career so far.

"It'll be a competitive contest. You can't go into this for a bit of fun, it's a serious sport and a serious business. He's come here to try and win, as have I.

"Every fighter experiences nerves before you go in the ring, it's how you deal with that and overcome it."