As Rio Ferdinand becomes a boxer… as we look at nine stars who moved into other sports

AS former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand announces his intention enter the boxing ring, we look at those sports stars who’ve tried their hands at other sports.

And some have been more successful than others…

Rio Ferdinand has announced a new career as a professional boxer

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Jimmy Bullard tried his luck at golf after injuries cut his football career short


Jimmy Bullard

The game of golf is littered with ex-footballers who have spent most afternoons on the course during their playing days and then suddenly think they’re good enough to turn pro when their football careers are over.

But they never are.

West Ham legend Julian Dicks had a go and failed, as did QPR’s American star Roy Wegerle. But the latest to try his hand was the game’s joker-in-chief Jimmy Bullard.

The former Hull City midfielder tried to qualify for the EuroPro Tour in 2014 – and failed spectacularly. “I want to be known as a golfer as opposed to a former footballer,” said the former footballer.

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Midfielder Bullard impressed in spells at Fulham, Wigan and Hull

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Former West Ham defender Julian Dicks also tried to make it as a pro golfer

Freddie Flintoff

While you can’t turn on the telly or the radio now without him popping up (anyone see Married To A Celebrity: The Survival Guide?), Flintoff first turned to boxing in the wake of his retirement from cricket in 2010.

And, in November 2012, he had his one and only bout against the American Richard Dawson at the MEN Arena.

Dawson, a 17st 3lb brawler from Okmulgee, Oklahoma who had served time for aggravated assault and battery, floored Flintoff in the second round but the Preston Pugilist recovered to take the four-round fight on points.

“You talk about the Ashes and things but as a personal achievement, this is the best,” said Freddie after his victory.

He never fought again.


Ashes cricket brought the best out of Andrew Flintoff as a sportsman

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But Flintoff also had a boxing bout against American fighter Richard Dawson

Michael Jordan

In 1994, four months after the first of his three retirements, Michael Jordan swapped basketball for baseball, signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.

And this despite not having played the game since he was at high school.

Jordan spent the season playing for the White Sox’s affiliate club Birmingham Barons but failed to impress, scoring just three home runs in 127 games.

Mind you, he did buy the team a brand new $350,000 luxury bus to travel in so it wasn’t a complete washout.


Michael Jordan was an NBA legend in Chicago Bulls colours

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Michael Jordan tried out as a baseball player with Chicago White Sox

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But Jordan managed to hit just three home runs in 127 games

Adam Gemili

Last seen winning gold in the 4 x 100m relay at the World Athletics Championship, Demili grew up dreaming of a career as a professional footballer.

When he was eight he signed for Chelsea and spent seven years at the club before having a year at Reading.

In 2010, he joined League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge before being sent out on loan to Thurrock where he played 12 times in the Isthmian League.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In 2012, he called time on his football career and made the switch to sprinting.

Thurrock’s loss was our gain.

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British sprinter Adam Gemili was a footballer before swapping studs for spikes

Justin Gatlin

When athletics’ biggest pantomime villain was banned from athletics for four years in 2006, he turned his attention to the NFL and trained with the Houston Texans.

The following year he almost secured a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after impressing at their trials.

But every cloud has a silver lining. After all, if he had been successful we would never have had the opportunity to boo him in London recently, would we?


Drug cheat Justin Gatlin recently won gold at the World Championships in London

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Gatlin almost landed himself a deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tyson Gay

Gatlin’s fellow doper, Tyson Gay, tried to win a place on the United States bobsleigh team for the 2016/17 season.

The disgraced sprinter entered the USA Bobsled National Push Championships in Calgary, alongside fellow sprinter Ryan Bailey. Initially, Team USA defended his entry say in that the second fastest sprinter in history had “a handful of days’ experience pushing a sled.”

But they soon changed their mind, deciding that “it was in Gay’s best interest to focus on learning and watch.”


Tyson Gay entered the USA Bobsled National Push Championships

Clive Allen

Former Spurs’ ace Allen also tried his hand at the American version of football when his career was over.

In 1997 he signed on the line for the London Monarchs and took his place in the side as a specialist place-kicker.

He wasn’t bad either, kicking three field goals and an extra point in their 16-8 win over the Scottish Claymores in the World League competition.

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Clive Allen is best remembered as a player for his stint at Spurs

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But Allen also kicked goals for London Monarchs

Ian Botham

Somehow, English cricket legend Ian Botham managed to combine single-handedly winning the Ashes in 1981 and 1985 with a football career with Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United.

A no-nonsense, old-school centre-half, Beefy turned out 11 times for Scunthorpe in the Football League and played for a select Football Association XI in 1984-85.

Botham’s son Liam, meanwhile, started his career as a cricketer for Hampshire but switched to play rugby league for a host of teams including Newcastle Falcons, Leeds Tykes and Wigan Warriors.

Must be something in the genes.

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Ian Botham produced legendary Ashes performances for England’s cricket team

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Botham also played football for Scunthorpe United

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Botham with a cuppa in the Scunthorpe changing rooms

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‘Beefy’ played 11 games as a centre-back for the Iron

Dwain Chambers

During his doping ban from athletics in 2003, 100m star Chambers tried to fill the void by offering his fleet-footed services to several other sports.

First, he had an unsuccessful trial for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL and later signed for the German gridiron side Hamburg Sea Devils.

In March 2008, he registered as a player with rugby league side Castlefield Tigers, a move which angered the club’s fans, not because of his drugs ban but because he’d never set foot on a rugby field before.

They didn’t offer him a contract.

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British sprinter Dwain Chambers tried to get himself an NFL contract

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Chambers tried out for the San Francisco 49ers

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Chambers also tried to earn a deal with German gridiron side Hamburg Sea Devils

Rio Ferdinand announces tilt at boxing after football career

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