Following his retirement from football in 2015, former Manchester United and England captain Rio Ferdinand has launched a surprising bid to become a professional boxer.
The 38-year-old, who retired from football back in 2015, revealed the news in what was billed as a “major news announcement” on Tuesday morning where he outlined his intention to enter the squared circle.
“When Betfair approached me about the Defender to Contender challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw,” he said.
“Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body. I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible. It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly – clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer – but with the team of experts Betfair are putting together and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible.”
Ferdinand, who played for West Ham, Leeds and QPR as well as United and his country in a 19-year career, currently works as a television pundit for BT Sport and the BBC.
His love of boxing is apparent on social media, with a picture of the former defender’s Twitter profile showing him draped in the WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight title belts of his friend Anthony Joshua. Ferdinand was in attendance when Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April and posed for pictures with the Olympic gold medallist.
There are also several videos on his Instagram page showing Ferdinand training with the gloves. One from July features ‘Eye of the Tiger’ playing in the background with a caption that reads: “Boxing Fridays…. left right left right… boom! Don’t beat around the bush….”.