Freddie Flintoff has revealed just how much he hated sparring while training for his only boxing fight – admitting he used to ‘just get beaten up’ every day.
The former England cricketer had his first, and only, professional fight back in 2012 when he beat Richard Dawson on points.
The training seems to have been fine for Freddie, but he says stepping into the ring to spar with people, and constantly taking punches to the face, was not for him!
Speaking on Wednesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast, Flintoff revealed: “Bizarrely, I really enjoyed the training as I needed to get fit and sort myself out.
“It was the sparring I hated; I used to go in the gym every day and just get beaten up!
“I’d be in the Peacocks Gym in the East End of London and I’d go in against anyone that would have me.
“One of my sparring partners was 6ft 10in and he just used to batter me. I used to throw a punch out, wouldn’t reach him, and about four or five would come back.
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“I realised that this is probably not for me.
“I realised I wasn’t cut out for boxing when I was in a gym in Battersea; this lad had the afternoon off work to spar with me, a rugby lad, and I hit him good on the chin.
“His legs went and he was wobbling, and as Barry (McGuigan, Flintoff’s trainer) was shouting ‘FINISH HIM’, I put my arms around him and cuddled him to make sure he’s alright. I felt really bad.”
Flintoff also said he had the utmost respect for anyone who steps into the ring – especially people of Mike Tyson’s age.
‘Iron Mike’, 53, has been showing off his incredible speed and strength in a series of training videos ahead of a possible return to the sport 15 years after his last fight.
A possible trilogy fight against Evander Holyfield – himself 57 – has been touted with talks said to be taking place, though questions have been raised over whether such a bout should be allowed given their respective ages.
Freddie added: “Anybody who gets in a boxing ring is brave, and to think of doing it at 53… jeez.
“I think he’s past it now. I reckon 100/1 (for Tyson to be world champion) is quite short. I reckon he should be higher than that.”