LONDON, September 18 — Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is looking to become a professional boxer.
The 38-year-old Ferdinand will be trained by former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall who has worked with Britain’s Olympic team.
“I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible,” Ferdinand said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly — clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer — but with the team of experts … and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible.”
Ferdinand retired from soccer in 2015 after a season at Queens Park Rangers, which he joined following 12 trophy-filled years at United.
Former Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012 after moving into the ring after his playing career ended.
“My advice to Rio would be show the game the respect it deserves,” Woodhouse tweeted, flagging up the dangers of boxing. “This is no joke.”
Ferdinand’s move into boxing is being funded by a betting company with a brand renowned for stunts. It was forced to apologize in Monday after offering odds on whether a dead coach — Ugo Ehiogu — would be hired as the next manager of second-tier team Birmingham.