Rio Ferdinand swaps boots for boxing gloves

Knockout: After retiring from football, Ferdinand “missed the mental and physical warfare”.

Should we all have more than one big goal in life? Rio Ferdinand aims to win a professional boxing title within 12 months. But some think he has made a “dangerous” decision.

Rio Ferdinand’s reputation was built on tackles, not punches. However, he will soon be learning a whole new defensive technique, after announcing this week that he is to become a professional boxer.

Ferdinand has never boxed before, although he says his chin was “tested by a few size ten football boots”.

His coach, Richie Woodhall, thinks that Ferdinand, despite being a complete novice at boxing, has “natural power” and the “potential” to be a champion.

Others are not so sure. Barry Hearn, a boxing promoter, warned that Rio “could get himself badly hurt”. And footballer turned boxer Curtis Woodhouse even suggested the move could be fatal: “You can die ‘playing’ boxing,” he tweeted.

Ferdinand is not the first retired sportsman to step into the ring. Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff won his professional boxing debut in 2012.

And it is not just sportspeople who master many trades. Arnold Schwarzenegger combined a bricklaying company, mail-order business, and property investing to become a millionaire at the age of 22 — before he accepted his first acting job. Not content with just being a movie star, he became governor of California in 2003.

Some suggest that this multi-career life is becoming more common. A 2016 study found that 38% of American millennials have more than one job.

But is it better to have one career ambition, or many?

Jack of all trades

“Pick something, and master it,” say some. It is better to be brilliant at one thing than average at many things. By just committing to one goal, you can achieve something extraordinary.

“We must harness all of our talents,” argue others. From a young age we are taught that we must choose to “be” one thing. But by experiencing new things, you can discover whole regions of yourself you never knew existed.

You Decide

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up?


  1. List the five jobs you would most like to do. Compare them with the choices of the people sat near you. Are your lists similar or different?

Some People Say...

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

Seth Godin

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
We know that Ferdinand intends to apply for a professional boxing license which will allow him to compete for British titles. His coach has trained British Olympic boxers in the past.
What do we not know?
We do not know if the British Boxing Board of Control will grant Ferdinand a boxing license. All boxers granted a license must be capable of boxing to a required standard.

Word Watch

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand won 81 caps for England and played for West Ham United, Bournemouth, Leeds United, Manchester United, and Queens Park Rangers. He became the most expensive British footballer in 2002 after his £30m transfer to Manchester United.
Curtis Woodhouse
Played professional football for several British clubs before taking up boxing in 2006.
Study completed by Adobe, an American computer software company. It surveyed over 2,000 people from America, Great Britain, and India.

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