Former England captain Rio Ferdinand on Tuesday announced that he was launching a new career as a professional boxer two years after retiring from football as a way of channeling his anger.
The former Manchester United player lost his wife Rebecca to breast cancer shortly before his retirement, which was followed by his mother’s death, also to cancer. “I’ve been through quite a few things in my life,” Ferdinand told reporters in London. “This is a way of trying to channel that aggression, that anger sometimes, into something I can be really focused on.”
“I’ve probably been searching for that since I retired. I miss that competitive edge. It’s something for me to focus on after the last couple of years,” said the 38-year old former football defender, who currently works as a pundit with BT Sport and the BBC. “I’ve won (football) titles but now I’m in it for a belt.”
However, Ferdinand is not guaranteed a professional licence by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC). “I’ve got the utmost respect for the boxing fraternity and I’m not saying I’m going to be a world champion. I’m saying there are loads of hurdles to get over and I’m going to meet them head on. I’m not going into this without thinking about the dangers,” he added. “I don’t look at this as a circus. I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. I’m taking it seriously.”
Ferdinand, who won the Premier League six times and the Champions League once during his time at the Old Trafford, may follow in the footsteps of former Birmingham City midfielder Curtis Woodhouse and former Crystal Palace forward Leon McKenzie, who became professional boxers after quitting football.