Rio Ferdinand aims to become boxing champion and fight for a title

Rio Ferdinand aims to become boxing champion and fight for a title

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has announced a change of sporting career... he is training to become a professional boxer.

In a move that echoes Victoria Pendleton's move into horse racing, which culminated in her coming home fifth in the Foxhunter Chase at last year's Cheltenham Festival, Ferdinand is taking part in Betfair's "Defender to Contender" project.

Ferdinand has teams up with United Kingdom 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'm not going into this without thinking about the dangers", he added.

"I think Rio can definitely box as a professional given time", says Woodhall.

Betfair are already pricing up Ferdinand's possible success and he is rated 2/1 to win a regional belt and 5/1n to win an English title.

"I was completely surprised".

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Woodhouse tweeted: Wish Rio Ferdinand all the very best if he decides to give pro boxing a go.

"This is a test of my mind and body, that's the way I'm looking at it".

British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith said they had not yet received an application from Ferdinand for a boxer's licence and this was news to them. "He would be under huge pressure, but I bet he's missed that buzz".

Ferdinand's foray into the world of boxing is expected to take a vastly different course to those of McKenzie and Woodhouse.

Betfair is preparing Ferdinand by assembling a team of world-class boxing and conditioning experts to support him throughout the journey, including former WBC super-middleweight Champion turned Team GB trainer Richie Woodhall. Can I be a respectable performer in other sports? "Nor have we had any conversation with anybody regarding this".

Ferdinand, who won the Premier League six times with Manchester United, has more recently been working as a TV pundit.

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