The 34-year-old was floored in the second round of a lively affair but after dominating the other three rounds had his hand rightly raised in victory on a score of 39-38 on the referee’s scorecard.
It was a deserved win for the former England and Lancashire fast-bowling all-rounder who dropped three-and-a-half stone to weigh in at 15st 6lb for his first foray into boxing after a five-month training camp with former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan.
“As a personal achievement, this tops the lot,” said Flintoff, who won two Ashes series during his cricket career. “The crowd made a massive difference tonight. I’ll appreciate I was sloppy at times, but it was a humbling moment,” he added.
Flintoff, who was perceived as overweight during his cricketing days, took trained for this seriously and looked in much better shape than his American opponent in the four-round clash.
The unbeaten Dawson did not have too much experience in the ring himself with just two previous outings against opponents without wins, and he gave away five inches to the taller Flintoff while carrying in almost an extra two stone in weight.
Around 5,000 fans turned up at the Manchester Arena — including a mix of boxing fans, those who followed Flintoff’s cricket career and some who were just intrigued to find out how an ex-cricketer could get on in the boxing world.
Some of Flintoff’s former England teammates, including Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison amongst others, were ringside to see the man more known for knocking wickets down than fighters.