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British Boxing Board 'surprised' by Ferdinand move as he hasn't yet applied for licence

‘If we receive an application we will consider it, as we have to do.’

NEWS THAT RIO Ferdinand is to pursue a career as a professional boxer caught the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) off guard, as the former Manchester United defender hasn’t yet applied for a licence.

After an initial report in The Telegraph last night, Ferdinand confirmed this morning that he is to lace up the gloves in venture sponsored by bookmakers Betfair.

The soon-to-be-39-year-old has posted various clips on Instagram over the past nine months showing his boxing training, but hasn’t yet followed the necessary procedural steps in order to become a boxer, according to the BBBofC.

“It was surprising that anybody would announce anything without contacting the governing body,” BBBofC general secretary Robert 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.

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

When asked by Sky Sports about former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff’s much-reviled pro boxing outing in 2012, Smith responded: “Freddie Flintoff went through a training period for over six months before he even considered applying.”

Ferdinand weighed roughly 87kg (191 lbs) as a footballer, and so should he be granted a boxing licence, he’ll likely campaign as a cruiserweight (200-lb limit) as opposed to heavyweight (anything above 200 lbs).

As indicated in his tweet confirming the switch, it’s understood he’ll be at least partially trained by former WBC World super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall, a BT Sport punditry colleague.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Curtis Woodhouse, a central midfielder who lined out against Ferdinand in the Premier League for Birmingham City, but forged a successful boxing career after switching sports in 2006.

Woodhouse, currently the manager of Bridlington Town, has won 23 of his 30 professional contests in the ring, and picked up a British light-welterweight title in 2014. He’s slated to return to the ring this November.

Former Crystal Palace striker Leon McKenzie is another to have made the transition from grass to canvas. After a four-year boxing career, he retired from the sweet science two weekends ago following a TKO defeat to Cello Renda, departing the sport with a respectable record of 8-2-1 (4KOs).

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