Tuesday 16 July 2019

Rio Ferdinand confirms he is starting a professional boxing career - and Gary Neville has a great response

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that he is launching a career as a professional boxer, with a date for his first fight set to be announced imminently.

Ferdinand has posted a succession of videos on his Instragram feed showing him in boxing training in recent months and now he is set to live out his dream to take his hobby into the ring as he eyes up some belts to add to the titles he won in his glittering football career.

“Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body,” declared 38-year-old Ferdinand. “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 I have to succeed, anything is possible.”

Ferdinand has teams up with UK bookmaker Betfair to launch his boxing journey, with former world champion Richie Woodhall set to be in his corner as he looks to make the leap from the pitch to the ring.


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

“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’s former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville has served up a swift response to the announcement, as he suggested the ex-England centre-back may need the help of some old pals to successfully make the transition into boxing.

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