Manchester United legend Gary Neville mocks Rio Ferdinand's boxing plan

Lynette Rowe
September 20, 2017

Ferdinand was crucial to Manchester United's Champions League win in 2008 against Chelsea, forming a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic, often hailed as one of the Premier League's best centre-back pairings.

"I'm not going into this without thinking about the dangers", he added.

He has full support from the team at Betfair and from his personal trainer Mel Deane and former super middleweight champ Richie Woodhall.

The New Zealand global in both rugby codes had seven professional heavyweight fights between 2009 and 2015, winning all of them (three by knockout) and became New Zealand heavyweight champion.

Smith said former cricket ace Andrew Flintoff's went through gruelling sessions before submitting paperwork for his boxing license. "I'm taking it seriously". We'll be arranging that.

As part of the "Defender to Contender" project, Ferdinand aims to qualify for his British Boxing Board of Control (BBBOC) licence, before he begins transforming himself into a boxer, training and competing for a title belt.

Ferdinand held a press conference this morning to launch his Defender To Contender plan, which is being backed by bookmakers Betfair, who conceived the idea.

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Hearn told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's laughable isn't it?"

"I've always been one to set goals and keep improving", he said.

"Boxing is an wonderful sport for the mind and the body", said Ferdinand. He's being totally naive and underestimating boxing'. But he has the choice of what he wants to do with his time and his life.

"If we receive an application we will consider it, as we have to do. Nor have we had any conversation with anybody regarding this".

Former Leeds United defender brought in by Sir Alex Ferguson with a then record fee of GBP30 million, had a chance to join the Wembley Stadium and take a picture with Joshua after defeating Wladimir Klitschko in April.

Other professional footballers to have made the switch to pro boxing include former Birmingham City midfielder Curtis Woodhouse, and Leon McKenzie, who played as a striker for Norwich and Coventry City.

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