TEAMWORK: Freddie Flintoff and Shane McGuigan
TEAMWORK: Freddie Flintoff and Shane McGuigan

ANDREW ‘Freddie’ Flintoff looked the business at Monkstown ABC during the week and the former England cricket ace has blasted the critics before he makes his boxing entrance at the end of the month.

Flintoff - who helped England to Ashes glory in 2005 - will make his professional boxing debut in Manchester on November 30.

And several figures from the world of boxing have voiced their concerns about Flintoff being allowed to fight in the ring.

But what does Flintoff - who was sparring this week in Belfast - think of the criticism his boxing adventure has stirred up?

“I am not bothered with what people say. When I played cricket I had critics but I can’t be bothered with all that.

“Just give me a chance and watch me on fight night. I am a boxing fan and the documentary will be all about how hard boxing is.

“Hopefully it will give people a better appreciation about the sport.

“I just wanted to do this properly. I did not want to do the ‘celebrity boxing thing.’

“And if you train with the Barry and Shane McGuigan you have to do it properly. They don’t do it any other way.

“I know there will be criticism and people snipping at me but I can’t be bothered with all that. I have too much on plate. I have training, sparring etc.

“I have also had my eyes opened to the good work the boxing clubs - like Monkstown ABC - are doing,” he added.

And Commonwealth Games medal winner Stephen Ward - who sparred Flintoff during the week - says all the knockers may be surprised when Flintoff makes his debut.

“I have sparred with Freddie a few times over the last few weeks.

“Barry McGuigan asked me before the Steve Molitor fight to go a few rounds with Freddie and I agreed.

“I think he was sparring a few army boys, but Barry took me over to Aldershot and things went well.

“For only boxing for just three months he is doing really well.

“It is a tough sport to come into to and he is going straight into a professional fight and there will be loads of pressure on him.

“But the improvement he has shown from the first time I sparred him is unbelievable.

“At the start he was very raw and it was just loads of jabs and he was panicking a wee bit when he was on the inside,

“But now he is jabbing, uppercuts, bodyshots, stepping back and now when you are inside, he is putting punches together.

“He has come on leaps and bounds. I think the critics will be surprised. And I think on the night a lot of people are going to have to admit that they were wrong about Freddie,” he added.