Andrew Flintoff’s move into the boxing ring will see him face the toughest challenge of his sporting career.
The former England and Lancashire cricket ace makes his professional boxing debut next month in Manchester.
WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly thinks it will be a world away from what Preston-born ‘Freddie’ Flintoff has ever experienced.
Cleverly met with Flintoff at the Peacock Gym in London this week.
Unbeaten Cleverly was there for media duties before heading off to the United States for his world title defence on November 10 at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
And Flintoff was putting in valuable rounds of sparring ahead of his pro-debut on November 30 at the Manchester Arena, which is being shown live on BoxNation.
Welsh ace Cleverly gave the raw heavyweight some words of advice before he gets into the ring.
“Freddie was pretty chuffed to meet me and he said he’d seen me fight before, which was nice,” said Cleverly.
“I believe that boxing is the hardest sport out there and for anyone to step through the ropes, proves they’ve got the fire for a fight,
“Freddie’s had a few battles on the cricket pitch with his team-mates but when it’s one-on-one in a boxing ring, that’s when you’ve got to really stand and prove your character.
“I think that Freddie’s made of the tough stuff – he was a beast on the pitch having the Aussies on the run. So he’s got to take that same fire and desire he showed when England won the Ashes in 2005 into the ring with him.
“I said to Freddie that it’s going to be the hardest thing he has done, but the buzz from winning and with the crowd cheering it will be well worth it.”