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Flintoff's no joke - Baz.

BOXING: Barry McGuigan has hit out at the notion that Andrew Flintoff's boxing experience is belittling the sport.

Former England cricketer Flintoff recovered from a second-round knockdown to claim a debut points victory against limited American novice Richard Dawson over four twominute rounds at the Manchester Arena.

The 34-year-old's preparations for Friday's bout were charted in a Sky television documentary, prompting many to question his motives.

But former WBA featherweight champion McGuigan, who oversaw the ex-Lancashire all-rounder's preparations alongside son and trainer Shane, had nothing but praise for Flintoff.

"We never belittled the sport," he said. "We were never in this, in any way, to belittle boxing. Those who said that were idiots.

"We're in this to show how serious he was about it.

"He was knocked down, he got up, showed pluck and courage. His technique went out of the window because he wanted to win so much and had the crowd behind him.

"But it was honest.

Everything about what we've done over the past four-and-a-half months was honest."

GOLF: Martin Kaymer took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City today after holding his nerve in testing conditions at the Gary Player Country Club yesterday.

A windy, overcast day made for a low-scoring third round but Kaymer notched three birdies and just one bogey to post a two-under 70 and move to five under overall.

Kaymer, who began the day a shot behind overnight leader Paul Lawrie, was required to hold his nerve at the last to maintain the outright lead, the German sinking a tickly putt from around 10 feet to make par.

Lawrie suffered a trying day as the Scot carded a three-over 75 to drop back to sixth place.

HOCKEY: A youthful England side were beaten 3-1 by India in the opening match of the Champions Trophy in Melbourne.

Jason Lee's team, featuring five debutants, led through Richard Smith but were eventually overhauled by goals from Danish Mutjaba, Yuvraj Walmiki and Sardar Singh.

Lee was not too downhearted, though, putting it down to having so many new faces.

"We played well in patches. I'm very pleased for those who earned their first cap. I hope it was a positive experience despite the result," he said.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2012
Words:378
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