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“It is too old to start a boxing career, especially that he hasn't had any experience,” Brown tells The Independent.“You could do the boxing training and have a one off unlicensed fight if you want to use it as a drive and vessel for strengthening mental health.
Boxers are capable of fighting well into their forties, but not those who started their careers at 39, and Ferdinand’s claim that he is taking this seriously sadly falls on deaf ears.
“In my opinion, yes,” adds Brown, “I think these cross overs devalue what a professional boxing licence represents.
If you want to have a boxing match for fame and fortune then have an unlicensed fight.
There is not one bit of Rio Ferdinand’s move into boxing that should sit right with any fight fan.
From its backing by a big-brand bookmaker to his statement that he was approached to put on the gloves and even his admission that boxing has helped him deal with the grief of losing his wife, everything about this venture does not add up.
He evidently did on the football pitch given his glittering professional record, but that’s because he grew up on the streets of London wanting to be a footballer, not a boxer.
Part of his early defence against the critics has been that he has already started training with ex-rugby union player Mel Deane and has lined up former WBC super-middleweight champion and Team GB trainer, Richie Woodhall, to show him the ropes.Don't ruin what a professional boxing licence means to the kids who have worked really hard through the amateurs, building experience and struggled to get their foot up onto the pro ladder.“Boxing is a great vessel for guiding anger, anxiety, stress, depression and helping people strengthen mental health, I am a huge advocate of it, but don't devalue the professional licence.” All of this, in itself, could still be understandable if Ferdinand had decided to take the risk and proceed on his journey into unchartered waters.But, don't bastardise the honour and value of a professional licence.It takes years to master the art of boxing and people shouldn't underestimate that.” There’s no doubt that sparring with Deane has helped Ferdinand following the death of wife Rebecca in 2015, which was followed by his retirement from professional football.If he was taking this seriously, he wouldn’t be doing it at all. Cathy Brown knows what it takes to forge a successful career in the sport, both as a fighter herself and as a coach in the role that she now fulfils.