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Rio Ferdinand isn't allowed to become a professional boxer

Rio Ferdinand

Backed by betting company Betfair as part of a campaign labelled ‘Defender to Contender’, Ferdinand launched his boxing career in September last year.

He has been coached by former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall, and the six-time Premier League champion hoped to “win a belt”.

Had his licence been granted, Ferdinand would have followed in the footsteps of ex-Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse and former Norwich forward Leon McKenzie, who both became professional boxers after quitting football. But now it appears his dream is over.

Ferdinand wrote on his Facebook page: “It is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves. To say I’m disappointed by this decision is an understatement.  

“Despite having never felt better physically or mentally, after notifying the British Boxing Board of Control of my intention to apply for a licence, I have received confirmation that they would not be reviewing my application at this point in time.

"To not be given the chance to demonstrate my ability to the BBBC through the standard assessment afforded to others is hard to take.

“Boxing is a physically tough, demanding and dangerous sport. I always gave it my utmost respect and never underestimated how difficult it would be. I wanted to show people it's OK to have a goal and strive to reach it."

Words: Ben Paessler

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