Back to the Futures: Former England soccer star Rio Ferdinand to jump into the boxing ring

Back to the Futures: Former England soccer star Rio Ferdinand to jump into the boxing ring article feature image

Just when you thought the boxing sideshows would be gone for a while following Mayweather vs. McGregor, they’re back again, courtesy of a British bookmaker.

This time, the man looking to step through the ropes and make his boxing debut isn’t a combat sportsman at all. He’s a retired footballer of some repute.

Rio Ferdinand was one of England’s most accomplished defenders in a generation. A combination of pace, skill and composure, Ferdinand was considered one of the world’s best defenders in his prime and was twice the most expensive defender in the world.

Now he’s retired and working as an ambassador and pundit, but he’s decided to jump back into the competitive sporting world… as a boxer.

He’s being backed by betting giants and operators of the world’s largest betting exchange, Betfair, who this week held a press conference announcing Ferdinand’s new sporting venture.

He’s set to receive some legitimate assistance. Former WBC super-middleweight world champion Richie Woodhall has been enlisted to train Ferdinand in the sweet science, while former rugby player Mel Deane will oversee the former soccer star’s physical training.

"In all honesty I think he could definitely box as a professional given time. He has natural power in his right hand and is very enthusiastic to learn, which is encouraging."
Richie Woodhall

From a personal point of view, I’d take it more seriously if this was something Rio had a real hankering for, but he revealed it was actually Betfair who approached him with the challenge, rather than his own motivation.

That suggests this is more of a PR stunt than a genuine sporting adventure, which personally takes the interest level out of the story a little. But nonetheless any man who’s prepared to put in the work and step through the ropes gets my respect, and Rio isn’t someone to do something like this half-heartedly.

As you’d expect from a manufactured sporting story created by a bookmaker, there are odds available.

You can back Ferdinand to claim an English title (no small feat) at a stingy-looking 5/1, with 2/1 on offer for the former Manchester United and England man to win a regional title, such as the Southern Area or Midlands Area title.

I’d avoid both bets like the plague.


Follow Simon Head on Twitter @simonhead.


Be part of the Action

Download the Sports Action app at the App Store or Google Play now.

Top Offers

The must-have app for sports bettors
GET THE APP
The fastest way to find the best bets
TRY FOR FREE
The most innovative betting software
TRY FOR $19.99
Industry-leading DFS tools
START TRIAL
Action Newsletter
Sign Up >
The top betting news and picks for all the big games delivered directly to your inbox daily.
Action Podcasts
Listen >
The award-winning Action Network Podcast covers all angles of betting and DFS from industry-leading pros.
Betting 101
Bet Smarter >
New to betting? No sweat. Check out our betting education hub, which ranges from beginner tips to advanced strategies.
Sports Betting Legalization
Predictions >
When will sports betting be legal in your state? Check our our projections for all 50 states.
Betting Calculators
Try Now >
Easily calculate your winnings for straight bets and parlays using American, Decimal, or Fractional odds.
Expert Picks
Best Bets >
See all of the bets Action Network experts are making in real-time, covering the big games and the hidden gems.