Sport

Why latest convert Freddie must show he's the real deal

WHEN former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff is finally left alone on Friday night at the MEN Arena, hopefully he will not look down at the wet imprint left by his pal Ricky Hatton's stricken body on the same canvas.

Flintoff's decision to fight as a professional boxer has never been a hoax and his slow and painful and bloody progress to novice heavyweight has been commendable.

Flintoff is not a natural boxer and was denied a licence the first time he applied, but he has doggedly pursued the craft in the gym, even if it mostly remains out of his grasp.

Nobody is certain where Flintoff's adventure will take him and there is wild speculation that a distant showdown with All Black Sonny Bill Williams is a possibility.

Well, it is not, trust me.

Williams, like Flintoff, is a fighter rather than a boxer, but he has in five pro fights just about managed to keep the cynics on their back foot; next year Williams meets former leading contender Frans Botha in potentially a bad, bad move.

I can't see how Botha loses, but stranger things have happened.

Anthony Mundine gives Sonny Bill Williams some words of advice as they walk back to their corner during Williams' fight at the Gold Coast Convention Centre last year.
Anthony Mundine gives Sonny Bill Williams some words of advice as they walk back to their corner during Williams' fight at the Gold Coast Convention Centre last year. Clive Franklin / Finish Line Images

On the same night in Brisbane, when Williams fights next February, his friend and on-field enemy Quade Cooper will, having gained an Australian boxing licence, have a professional fight.

The Wallaby fly-half is taking a break from rugby, and boxing and rugby league look certain to play a big part in his future.

"I have always liked boxing and wanted to give it a go, to test myself," said Cooper, which seems to be a familiar cry from other converts.

A few years ago Curtis Woodhouse turned his back on a football career that included a multimillion-pound move and an England cap at Under-21 level, and decided that boxing was his future.

He had a difficult baptism live on ITV, refused to quit, won and lost a few, and is now, six years and 21 fights later, a genuine leading contender for the British title.

"I have heard people giving Freddie some stick, but he's put the hours in and has been honest about it," said Woodhouse.

"I wish him the best and I know that by now he has realised just how hard it is. It's not a game."

Woodhouse has been an inspiration during his years as a boxer.

I tend to dismiss the cash-and-grab antics of the converted American footballers who invariably end their flirtation with real contact in a heap on the canvas.

However, the search is still on in America for the next heavyweight champion and discarded college football players have been targeted. Who knows, perhaps one will have a muscle on his chin.

However, it is impossible to ignore the achievements of Australian rugby league player Anthony Mundine, who is arguably the greatest crossover athlete in boxing history.

Mundine played for Australia's under-19 team against GB, lost in the 1999 NRL Grand Final and was considered a real star before walking away at just 25 in 2000.

He is also a great talker and harsh critic of 'racist' Australia's treatment of Aboriginals.

Mundine has twice won world titles and is still going strong.

His fight next year against Daniel Geale, an Aboriginal fighter from Tasmania, will be a guaranteed sell-out after Mundine challenged Geale's roots.

"I thought that they wiped all the Aborigines in Tasmania out," Mundine said, which caused outrage.

It is lucky that he can fight and that his own roots are reinforced every time he lashes out at the government.

Flintoff's debut is real and even if it turns into a carnival of luvvies swapping air kisses at ringside the reality is that after all the sacrifices our Freddie will have to fight.

Nobody has been conned and a dozen other fighters will benefit from the exposure. I just hope he doesn't look down.

Topics:  boxing fighting freddie flintoff quade cooper rugby sonny bill williams


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Rhonda walks after 12 years bedridden

BREAK-THROUGH: Rhonda Hodges can now walk after more than a decade without the use of her legs.

Postmans Ridge woman has had a breakthrough with rare disorder.

Easing the tricky transition into high school

NEW PEERS: Year 6 students tour the school as a part of their class group for 2017.

Lockyer District High School welcomed the next wave of students.

Some setbacks for Lockyer Valley NBN rollout

CONNECTION IS COMING: The NBN's Fibre to the Node connection is used where the existing copper network will make the final part of the NBN network connection.

Lockyer Valley NBN connection update.

Local Partners

Elizabeth's home is where the art is

SHE's been a highland dance teacher, dry-cleaner, mother and business woman but Elizabeth Browne is still sharing her true gift of painting with the world.

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!