Boxer Barry McGuigan has admitted that taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special is more nerve-wracking than any of his bouts in the ring.

The Irish fighter, who will partner Erin Boag in the festive special on Christmas Day, told The Sun that the thought of taking to the dancefloor was terrifying, as he fears his footwork will turn him into a laughing stock.

“This is more nerve-racking than when I fought in front of 20million people on TV,” he said.

“I trained for that and spent my career preparing for that moment. But here I am out of my comfort zone and putting myself up for ridicule. People say boxers should be good at dancing because they have rhythm but that doesn’t mean I am necessarily co-ordinated.

Barry also explained that boxing training was very different to training for the dancefloor.

“I’ve been coached for years to stand side-on, keep my arms close to my body, keep my chin tucked in and make myself as small as possible,” he said.

“But when you’re dancing you need to do the opposite and have to open up your chest and chin and keep your arms out. I have to remember it’s a laugh — and hopefully my performance will be better than laughable.”

Barry will join other celebrities including EastEnders’ Charlie Brooks, Blue’s Simon Webbe and actress Su Pollard in the festive special which is on BBC1 on Christmas Day at 8pm.