Betfair backing Rio in boxing dream

Former England footballer Rio Ferdinand has teamed up with Betfair with the aim of becoming a professional bookmaker.

The project called ‘Defender to Contender’ – he is aiming to qualify for his British Boxing Board of Control (BBBOC) licence before he then begins training and competing for a title belt.

Ferdinand, who retired from football in 2015 and has been working as a football pundit, said: “When Betfair approached me about the Defender to Contender challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw.

“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.”

Betfair is helping Ferdinand prepare by assembling a team of world-class boxing and conditioning experts to support him throughout the journey, led by former WBC super-middleweight Champion turned Team GB trainer, Richie Woodhall.

Betfair, which successfully helped Victoria Pendleton transition from Olympic cyclist to Cheltenham jockey in the ground-breaking ‘Switching Saddles’ challenge in 2016, say they are dedicated to helping Ferdinand achieve his goal.

Stephen Mault, Brand Director UK & Ireland – ‎Betfair, said: “Betfair is dedicated to supporting Rio Ferdinand throughout this ground-breaking sporting transformation.

“Rio stood out as the perfect personality to undertake this challenge, as he knows all about the hard work and dedication it takes to succeed. With Rio’s sporting pedigree, our support network, and a lot of hard work, we’re all confident that Rio can compete for a belt.”

Betfair are already pricing up Ferdinand’s possible success and he is rated 2/1 to win a regional belt and 5/1n to win an English title.

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