Batting and boxing actually have a fair bit in common – the stances are very similar, and the body mechanics involved in throwing a jab and playing a straight drive are virtually identical. But that’s a technical article for another day. For now, let’s watch some cricketers unleash their inner Spartan!
Jesse Ryder vs Mark Watson
As it turns out, being a troll can be pretty painful. Jesse Ryder decided to fight Mark Watson in 2012, for no apparent reason other than ‘He said mean things about me’ and the general spectacle of it all. Watson claimed he would ‘run circles’ around Ryder in a boxing ring, and Ryder responded with the preferred choice of most professional fighters – a Twitter call-out.
Now Boxing 101 dictates that you show up for a fight in fighting shape, and with some semblance of technique, but neither Ryder nor Watson felt encumbered by such restrictions. In a fight that should have never have been sanctioned, a significantly bigger Ryder KO’d Watson in the first round.
Chris Cairns vs Simon Doull
What’s better than one Kiwi cricketer in the ring? Two Kiwi cricketers of course! Chris Cairns (43) took on Simon Doull (44), proving that not everything done for charity necessarily makes pleasant viewing. In all fairness to Cairns and Doull, they showed up in excellent shape, and did seem to know their way around a ring. In the end, Cairns out-pointed Doull, and picked up a unanimous decision.
The New Zealand Herald wasn’t very impressed though – they compared Cairns’ technique to a ‘washing machine’ and Doull’s technique to a ‘sewing machine’, and if your fighting skills are being compared to home appliances, you’ve probably not got much of a career in the ring.
Andrew Flintoff vs Richard Dawson
Andrew Flintoff retired from international cricket because of repeated injuries to his ankle, so his desire to compete as a professional boxer was, well, puzzling. Flintoff was all-in though – his training sessions were filmed for a TV show, and he lost a ton of weight to prepare for the bout. Sadly, the actual fight was exactly what you would expect from a retired athlete with no amateur fights – Flintoff was knocked down in the second round, and was lucky to win a decision victory at the end of the sanctioned four rounds. Thankfully the experiment was a one-and-done, and Flintoff even made a brief comeback to T20 cricket in 2014.
Adam Hollioake’s boxing and MMA career
Easily the most skilled fighter on this list, former England captain Adam Hollioake has competed as both a boxer and a mixed martial artist. Hollioake won his first boxing bout via fourth round KO, and fought to a draw in his professional MMA debut. Hollioake won his second MMA fight as well, but suffered his first boxing loss to former Rugby international and junior world Karate champion Monty Betham.