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Ferdinand, McGregor and Curry - Sport's most notable crossover stars

Two years on from hanging up his boots, Rio Ferdinand is to lace up the gloves after the former Manchester United defender announced a sensational career move to the boxing ring.

Former England captain Ferdinand earned a reputation as one of the finest centre-backs of his generation and won six Premier League titles, two League Cups and a Champions League medal during a distinguished Red Devils career.

In conjunction with betting company Betfair, Ferdinand confirmed on Tuesday his intention to train to become a professional boxer after videos teasing such an announcement on social media.

But Ferdinand is not the first example of an athlete trying his hand at a different sport and we have taken a look at five other crossover stars.

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A man with a huge claim to be considered the greatest basketballer of all time, Michael Jordan won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and is a five-time MVP. But the legendary Jordan briefly retired from the courts in 1993 to try his hand in the baseball minor leagues. Jordan later returned to his first calling in March 1995.


'The Notorious' Conor McGregor is never one to shy away from the limelight. So, it was inevitable that when the UFC star – the first man in the organisation's history to hold two belts in different divisions simultaneously – was offered the challenge of fighting one of boxing's pound-for-pound kings Floyd Mayweather Jr in the squared circle he would accept. The big-talking Irishman did his reputation no harm with a solid showing, but was stopped in the 10th in their Las Vegas showdown last August.


Few sports stars in the world are as globally recognisable right now as Steph Curry. The 29-year-old has helped the Golden State Warriors to two NBA titles in three seasons and won back-to-back MVP awards in 2015 and 2016. Curry, though, is a dab hand with the golf clubs as well and played in the Web.Com Tour's Ellie Mae Classic earlier this year. He missed the cut, but a score of four over par for an amateur playing a professional event exceeded most expectations.


Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff is best known for his exploits on the cricket pitch and was a hero of England's 2005 Ashes success on home soil. Nowadays, Flintoff is a television star and pundit, but in November 2012 he turned his hand to boxing and earned a points victory over Richard Dawson in Manchester. Ferdinand will hope for similar success inside the ring.

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Few men have ever made defending look so easy. For over 20 years, Paolo Maldini donned the famous AC Milan jersey, winning seven Serie A titles and five European Cup/Champions League medals with the Rossoneri. His longevity was emphasised by the fact he played until the age of 41 and eight years later Maldini made his debut in professional tennis. Maldini was handed a wildcard for June's doubles event at the Aspria Tennis Cup in Milan, but was beaten 6-1 6-1 in just 42 minutes with partner Stefano Landonio.