Ferdinand: It’s happening…can’t wait to get started

Rio Ferdinand has confirmed he is to take up professional boxing at the age of 38.

The former England captain made the announcement on social media on Tuesday morning saying: "It's happening…can't wait to get started."

Ferdinand, who is just two months away from his 39th birthday, is an avid boxing fan and has regularly posted videos on his social media accounts showing him in boxing training. He was at Wembley in April to see Anthony Joshua's epic heavyweight contest with Wladimir Klitschko.

The centre-half won 81 caps and made over 300 appearances for Manchester United before retiring in 2015. He also played for West Ham, Leeds and Queens Park Rangers in a career spanning 19 years.

Ferdinand's wife Rebecca died of breast cancer shortly before his retirement and he has since lost his mother, also to cancer.

"I've been through quite a few things in my life," Ferdinand said. "This is a way of trying to channel that aggression, that anger sometimes, into something I can be really focused on.

"I've probably been searching for that since I retired. I miss that competitive edge. It's something for me to focus on after the last couple of years."

Ferdinand added: "I've got the utmost respect for the boxing fraternity and I'm not saying I'm going to be a world champion.

"I'm saying there are loads of hurdles to get over and I'm going to meet them head-on.

"I'm not going into this without thinking about the dangers. I don't look at this as a circus. I'm not trying to disrespect anyone. I'm taking it seriously."

Now he is going to try and become a professional boxer but he will need to convince the British Boxing Board of Control he merits a licence.

Ferdinand would not be the first footballer to turn to a career in the ring. Former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012.

He has taken to social media saying: "My advice to Rio would be to show the game the respect it deserves. This is no joke, you can die playing boxing. I wish him well."