Facing up to “what happens next” is something that every pro sports player and athlete has to go through. With a handful of exceptions, pro sport is a young man or woman’s activity, and most are past their peak by their mid 30s. Poker provides a perfect way to continue to use those competitive instincts, and as the likes of Doyle Brunson have proved, you only get better with age.
There are numerous sports stars who have gone on to play poker professionally, including Steve Davis, Boris Becker and even Cristiano Ronaldo. But no sport has such strong and numerous linkages with poker as boxing. Let’s meet a few fighters who are as dangerous at the poker table as they are in the ring.
Harrison’s finest hour in the ring came before he even turned pro, when he won gold at the Sydney Olympics and earned an MBE while still in his twenties. After that, his pro career was always going to struggle to live up to the early promise, and that proved to be the case. The only pro title he ever held was the European Heavyweight Champion in 2010. Now aged 50, Harrison’s transition to the poker table has been smooth and successful. He has already accumulated almost $300,000 in winnings and has his eyes set on a World Series of Poker bracelet.
Chris Eubank Jr
Here’s a boxer who is a chip off the old block in more ways than one. He’s not just inherited his father’s pugilistic prowess, he also speaks eloquently about the subjects that matter to him. The two-times middleweight champion has joined one of the biggest online poker brands as Cultural Ambassador. He says he has a passion for the game that is all about getting everyone involved. So if you need tips on where to go to play online poker, you know whom to ask!
Said El Harrak
The super welterweight from Morocco only fought once more following his loss to Christopher Pearson in Las Vegas in 2015. He was based in Henderson, Nevada during his career as a fighter, but it was a short drive back to Sin City after his retirement to commence his new career. He picked up instant winnings at his first ever WSOP event, pocketing just under $147,000.
As a multiple champion across multiple disciplines, there is nothing David Haye needs to prove to anyone. But that’s not how a professional fighter’s mindset works. He’s now embarking on a whole new series of challenges. The Hayemaker entered last year’s Goliath tournament having never played a hand of poker before in his life. He was taken under the protective wings of a couple of serious pro players for some intensive coaching, and it worked. Haye is now searching for his next challenge.
These are just a few of the famous names who made the switch from boxing to poker. Others include Floyd Mayweather, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, to name just a few.