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Rio Ferdinand: Retired footballer to launch pro boxing career

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Rio Ferdinand is launching a new career as a professional boxer, two years after he retired from football.

The 38-year-old's move into the ring is being backed by betting company Betfair, which announced the news on Tuesday.

Former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand works as a TV pundit and he has his own clothing line.

"I'm doing this because it's a challenge," he said. "I've won titles and now I'm aiming for a belt."

He has posted several social media videos in recent months showing him boxing and working with personal trainer Mel Deane.

Ferdinand, who won the Premier League six times and the Champions League once during his time in Manchester, may follow in the footsteps of former Birmingham City midfielder Curtis Woodhouse and former Crystal Palace forward Leon McKenzie, who became professional boxers after quitting football. Woodhouse became British super-lightweight champion.

Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff also launched a boxing career after retiring, winning his only pro bout in December 2012 against American Richard Dawson at Manchester Arena on points.

It was Betfair who approached Ferdinand about making the switch, and the betting company will help him qualify for his British Boxing Board of Control licence before he begins training and competing.

The company previously backed Victoria Pendleton in her transition from Olympic cyclist to Cheltenham jockey.

"When Betfair approached me about the challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw," added Ferdinand.

He will be coached by Team GB coach and former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall.

"In all honesty, I think Rio can definitely box as a professional given time. He has natural power in his right hand, is extremely fit and is very enthusiastic to learn which is encouraging," said Woodhall.

"Style wise, he's very raw and I'll have to develop this which will take time but he has all the natural ingredients, height and reach advantages over boxers in his weight division and definitely has potential to win a title in the future."

Ferdinand joined Anthony Joshua in the ring in April after Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko to unify the WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles at Wembley StadiumThe former centre-back started his career with West Ham and Woodhouse told BBC Radio 5 live he was "shocked" to hear of Ferdinand's career change.

"When it came up on my Twitter feed that Rio Ferdinand was going to become a professional boxer I thought I'd been hacked," he said. "It's not something you read every day is it?

"I've been retired three years myself and one thing I missed - and he's probably going through himself at the minute - is the competitiveness of being an athlete.

"Once that's taken away from you it's very, very difficult to replace it, so that's probably what he's chasing - to get that competitiveness back in his life."

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/boxing/41313235


I couldn't see him in a boxing ring at all :rofl:. A bit old now isn't he also? He may be an athlete and someone who has always looked after himself, but it's probably not the age to start a career.  Fair play to him though for testing himself in another sport.

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We always expect footballers to stay ib the game in some way when they retire, but they are human beings with other interests like everybody else. He is probably financially stable, he still has a good gig on BT and he does other shit in the game which I'm sure bring in some dosh. He might just love boxing, he might have trained for years away from the public eye and wants yo give it a go, a new challenge in life. 

That being said, I don't know how wise it is for a 38 year old to take up pro boxing, especially with young children that are entirely dependent on him. 

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Fair play to him, with all the stuff that happened with his wife it'll be a good challenge to channel some negative energy into.

I can't see him going too far mind, his physical stature will help him but he is still 38. If he wins any form of professional belt then it'll be a success.

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7 hours ago, HoneyNUFC said:

I thought it was a wind up when I saw the photo on twitter.

Does he have financial problems or is he just struggling with retired life?

maybe leaning towards this given he lost his wife and his mum in the last 2-3 years so possibly doing this as some kind of escapism. 

Then again, no idea what his financial situation is or if he has any troubles with it!

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