Former England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand is set to become a professional boxer just two months away from his 39th birthday.
According to the Daily Telegraph, he will make the announcement on Tuesday (today) .
Ferdinand, who won 81 caps and made over 300 appearances for Manchester United, is an avid boxing fan and has admitted spending time boxing in the gym has helped clear his head a bit after losing his wife and the mother of his three children Rebecca Ellison to breast cancer in 2015.
Ferdinand, who has become a respected TV pundit since hanging up his boots in 2015, is due to make what has been termed “a major news announcement” on Tuesday but will need to convince the British Boxing Board of Control he merits a licence.
He wouldn’t be the first footballer to turn to a career in the ring as former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012.
Ferdinand will be assisted by a team of boxing and conditioning experts and he will be trained by former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall.
The Team GB trainer said: ‘In all honesty, I think Rio can definitely box as a professional given time. He has natural power in his right hand, is extremely fit and is very enthusiastic to learn which is encouraging.
‘Style wise he’s very raw and I’ll have to develop this which will take time but he has all the natural ingredients, height and reach advantages over boxers in his weight division and definitely has potential to win a title in the future.’
Ferdinand has posted videos on his Instagram page of him hitting punch bags since he ended his illustrious football career in 2015.
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 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.