Rio Ferdinand has been forced to scuttle his dreams of becoming a professional boxer after the former Manchester United defender saw his application for a license refused.
Two years after retiring from football, Ferdinand announced last September that he was intent on making it as a pro pugilist as part of a ‘Defender to Contender’ PR stunt backed by Betfair.
The plan was to have the 39-year-old train with former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall and personal trainer Mel Deane while he attempted to earn a British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) licence to allow him to compete in monetised matches and, ultimately, win a belt.
However, as of today, the BBBofC have confirmed that Ferdinand’s application wa unsuccessful and that they will not be reviewing their decision at any point in the future,
In a statement published on Facebook, the man himself broke the news:
It is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves. To say I’m disappointed by this decision is an understatement.
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, Mel and the countless others who have dedicated their time to my boxing development over the past six months.
Oh well. Boxing’s loss is football punditry’s gain (we really quite like Rio’s forthrightness).
Still, on the upside, he’s bowing out undefeated – which is something not many fighters can boast by the end of their careers.