Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand ends boxing dream after BBBoC reject licence application

Ferdinand trained for six months as part of his Defender to Contender campaign

Peter Rutzler
Thursday 03 May 2018 12:34 BST
Ferdinand will give up on his dream now
Ferdinand will give up on his dream now (Betfair)

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has said he is “disappointed” after being forced to hang up his boxing gloves before he had the chance to use them.

The 39-year-old had to give up on his boxing dream after being denied a professional boxing license by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

Ferdinand took up the ‘Defender to Contender’ challenge, backed by betting company Betfair, last September with the aim of “winning a belt.”

But his hopes of emulating former Sheffield United midfielder-turned-successful boxer Curtis Woodhouse, who became British lightwelterweight champion, were ended after he was notified by the BBBofC that he will not be given a pro license.

“Having been training four-five times a week since announcing the aim of achieving a professional boxing licence and stepping into the ring, it is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves on the Betfair #DefendertoContender challenge,” Ferdinand wrote on an Instagram post.

“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 say I’m disappointed by this decision is an understatement.”

The 39-year-old, who retired from football in 2015, was being coached by former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall and was training at the English Institute of Sport, the base for the Team GB Boxing set-up.

“To not be given the chance to demonstrate my ability to the BBBoC through the standard assessment afforded to others is hard to take, not only for me, but also to Richie Woodhall, Mel Deane and the countless others who have dedicated their time to my boxing development over the past five months.

“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 that it’s OK to have a goal and strive to reach it. It’s important to approach everything with success in mind, and to give it your all, but sometimes things work against you.

“This sport has given me a new focus and drive and is something I will continue to do as part of my fitness regime.

“I’d like to say thank you to Betfair, Richie Woodhall, Duke McKenzie, my team at New Era Global Sports, the guys at Team GB Boxing and everyone who has supported me so far. It’s been a great journey.”

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