12
Dec
2018

BBBofC raise eyebrows at Rio Ferdinand announcement, Barry Hearn labels move ‘totally naive’

WBN 19/09/2017
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British Boxing Board of Control General Secretary Robert Smith says he knows nothing of a potential move into professional boxing for ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand.

The former England star, who is in his late 30’s, announced his intention to make the transition with betting partners Betfair backing him, although it’s been two years since Ferdinand retired from playing sport.

In the twilight of his athletic years, Ferdinand’s move has been met with plently of scepticism, not to mention questions from the Board which they want answered.

“It was surprising that anybody would announce anything without contacting the governing body,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“I have not received an application so there’s nothing to consider. I heard, for the first time, on the radio (this week).

“If we receive an application we will consider it, as we have to do. But we’ve had no correspondence from Mr. Ferdinand.”

Matchroom promoter Barry Hearn, who currently oversees his son Eddie, the biggest pulling power on the UK fight scene, wasn’t too impressed by Ferdinand’s ambitious plans to box.

“It’s laughable isn’t it? He is being totally naive and is totally underestimating boxing,” Hearn told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But he has the choice of what he wants to do with his time and his life.

“The authorities are there to make sure the sport is safe, and that involves very tough tests to make sure he is capable of getting into the ring.

“If he can achieve that, let him have his chance, it’s not a problem. But let’s not take it seriously and talk about fighting for titles and things like that.

“I wish him luck, I hope he enjoys it, but be very careful because it’s dangerous.”

Ferdinand incredibly stated, ‘he wanted a belt’ when speaking in a promotional video for his switch, although the one-time Manchester United captain only has to asked fellow Premier League star Curtis Woodhouse how tough that will be to achieve.

Woodhouse won the British championship before hanging up his gloves on the back of a long hard slog in the ring, but did recently make a comeback at the age of 37 – something boxing fan Ferdinand will be well aware of.

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