Rio Ferdinand 25/1 to win British title as he prepares to embark on a professional boxing career

Boxing
Rio Ferdinand with Anthony Joshua
Rio Ferdinand with Anthony Joshua

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand is hoping to become a professional boxer - and Sky Bet make him 25/1 to win a British title.

Ferdinand played for West Ham, Leeds, Manchester United and QPR during a 19-year career before retiring from football in May 2015 and he's now confirmed his intention to take to the ring.

SKY BET SPECIAL: Rio Ferdinand to win a British title at any weight - 25/1

But as bold as this move seems, the 38-year-old, who has been working as a pundit with BT Sport and the BBC, isn't the only ex-sportsman to have tried their hand at boxing.

Former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012 after swapping football for the gloves, while cricketer Andrew Flintoff won a one-off bout, of modest standard, against American Richard Dawson having been mentored Barry McGuigan.

Curtis Woodhouse swapped football for boxing
Curtis Woodhouse swapped football for boxing

His love of boxing is apparent on social media, with a picture of the former defender's Twitter profile showing him draped in the WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight title belts of his friend Anthony Joshua.

Ferdinand, who has yet to apply to the British Boxing Board of Control for a boxer's licence, was in attendance when Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April and posed for pictures with the Olympic gold medallist.

There are also several videos on his Instagram page showing Ferdinand training with the gloves. One from July features 'Eye of the Tiger' playing in the background with a caption that reads: "Boxing Fridays.... left right left right... boom! Don't beat around the bush....".

Ferdinand goes on to tag former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, asking "when ya get ur licence back?". The video ends with Ferdinand leaping over a garden hedge, an indicator, perhaps, of how seriously he takes the prospect.

Another video, this time from January, shows Ferdinand fire off a stream of punches into impact pads, interspersed with hyperbolic challenges in the direction of Joshua - who he first reminds of a shared holiday in Dubai - and decorated British boxers Tony Bellew and David Haye.

Woodhouse believes it will take Ferdinand a lengthy period of time to get to grips with the technical aspects of boxing.

"The training and everything didn't take me by surprise but I found learning the technical side of the game really difficult," he added.

"There's a lot of things go on in a boxing ring that you don't realise until you get in there. It takes a long, long time to feel comfortable in the boxing ring.

"Your ego will take a bit of a knock. He's going to have to get used to a few setbacks along the way. He'll definitely struggle with the technical side of the game."

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