Former England defender, Rio Ferdinand launches bid to become a pro boxer

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Rio ferdinand launches bid to become a pro boxer Image: Betfair

Former Manchester United and England captain Rio Ferdinand has launched a sensational bid to become a professional boxer.

The 38-year-old Ferdinand, 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 –

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.

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…

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….”.

Ferdinand goes on to tag former world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, asking “when ya get ur license back?”. The video ends with Ferdinand leaping over a garden hedge, an indicator, perhaps, of how seriously he takes the prospect.

The video ends with Ferdinand leaping over a garden hedge, an indicator, perhaps, of how seriously he takes the prospect.

Another video, this time from January, shows Ferdinand fire off a stream of punches into impact pads, interspersed with hyperbolic challenges in the direction of Joshua.

Who he first reminds of a shared holiday in Dubai – and decorated British boxers, Tony Bellew and David Haye.

Former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012 after swapping football for the sweet science, while cricketer Andrew Flintoff won a one-off bout, of modest standard, against American Richard Dawson having been mentored Barry McGuigan.

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