Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand is turning his hand to boxing at the age of 38.
The Daily Telegraph first reported Ferdinand’s plans to become a professional boxer on Monday, and the decorated ex-footballer confirmed his intentions on Tuesday morning.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) September 19, 2017
He is working with gambling firm Betfair to transition into the sport. He is hoping to secure a licence to box professionally from the British Boxing Board of Control, but it is not yet clear what opponents he has in mind.
Ferdinand is being trained by former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall, while fitness trainer Mel Deane is also in his corner.
Ferdinand, who has long had an interest in boxing, said he was doing it for “a challenge.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He is not the first footballer to try boxing. Curtis Woodhouse, the former Sheffield United midfielder, became a British light-welterweight champion when he switched career at the age of 26.
Ferdinand won the Premier League and the Champions League during a 12-year spell at Manchester United. He was also capped 81 times by England.
He has mainly been working as a football pundit for broadcasters including the BBC and BT Sport since retiring in 2015.