Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United and England captain, is to attempt to become a professional boxer.
The 38-year-old has confirmed he is taking up the sport in what had been billed as a major news announcement.
The former Manchester United star, who retired from football in May 2015, is taking part in online betting firm Betfair’s “Defender to Contender” project and will be training with former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall.
He will also seek to emulate Curtis Woodhouse, the former Sheffield United midfielder who went on to a successful boxing career, becoming British lightwelterweight champion.
Ferdinand will be seeking to qualify for a British Boxing Board of Control licence before starting training and competing for a title belt.
Ferdinand said, “Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body,”.
“I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible.
“It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly — clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer — but with the team of experts Betfair are putting together and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible.”
Woodhouse tweeted his support on Monday night, saying: “Wish Rio Ferdinand all the very best if he decides to give pro boxing a go. Who is anybody to say what he can or can’t do. Live ya life.”