Rio Ferdinand announced he is going to become a professional boxer at the age of 38, and he is looking in incredible shape.
The former Manchester United and England defender is training as part of Betfair’s Defender To Contender campaign.
Rio will be transforming himself into a boxer with the hope of qualifying for his British Boxing Board of Control (BBBOC) licence before beginning training and competing for a title belt.
He told Betfair:
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 follows in the footsteps of Curtis Woodhouse, the former Sheffield United striker who turned professional boxer and who later became British light-welterweight champion.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) January 11, 2017
Team GB coach Richie Woodhall has created a training schedule and he will work closely with Rio’s personal trainer, Mel Deane, to condition Rio over the coming months.
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.
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.
Stephen Mault, Betfair’s brand director, said:
Betfair is dedicated to supporting Rio Ferdinand throughout this ground-breaking sporting transformation.
Rio stood out as the perfect personality to undertake this challenge, as he knows all about the hard work and dedication it takes to succeed. With Rio’s sporting pedigree, our support network, and a lot of hard work, we’re all confident that Rio can compete for a belt.
Good luck, Rio.