FOOTBALLERS are always encouraged to think about what career path they will take when they hang up their boots.
Some choose to go into coaching, others invest in property… and some decide to knock lumps out of one another.
Marcin Wasilewski is set to begin a career in cage fighting
Former Leicester defender Marcin Wasilewski has become the latest ex-pro to swap shin pads for mouth guards.
The Pole, 42, retired from football in November 2020 and is set to enter the world of cage fighting.
A bout with ex-Bolton and Hearts defender Blazej Augustyn is even being lined up.
Here, SunSport details the fighting careers of five other footballers who have turned to the ring.
England legend Ferdinand’s football career brought several glittering moments but his boxing days were over before they really started.
Sponsored by a betting company to step into the ring in September 2017, the former defender was jarringly denied a licence.
The British Boxing Board of Control deemed it ‘not beneficial’ to allow Ferdinand his second career.
And the Manchester United hero quickly called time on his boxing comeback.
He said: “It is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves.
“To not be given the chance to demonstrate my ability to the BBBofC through the standard assessment afforded to others is hard to take.”
Fast forward to October 2020 and Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn revealed his desire to stage an Old Trafford showdown between Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney.
Rio Ferdinand won a shedload of trophies as a footballer
The ex-defender was unsuccessful in his attempt at a boxing career
Arguably the world’s top female boxer, Taylor is also a former Republic of Ireland international footballer.
The ex-winger starred for Peamount United in the late 2000s yet missed her side’s FAI Women’s Cup final in 2009 to be crowned Europe’s best amateur fighter.
Taylor won 11 caps for her country, scoring twice, before choosing to focus on boxing a decade ago.
Former team-mate Marie Curtin would later tell the Mirror that Taylor ‘would have excelled to the highest level’ had she stayed in football.
Curtin added: “There were no barriers. Her mindset is so strong and you need leaders like that on your team to win.”
And Taylor fondly remembers her playing days, even recalling a crunching tackle that was posted on Twitter a couple of years ago.
Katie Taylor played a number of times for the Republic of Ireland women’s team
Hardly the most aggressive left-back of his day, ex-Chelsea man Bridge showed the fire in his belly with a stint in boxing two years ago.
A Sport Relief clash with Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews saw the defender take on a man nine years his junior.
The three-round affair started tightly before Bridge unleashed a barrage of blows.
Matthews hit the deck twice and yet made it to the final bell, at which Bridge won on points.
The former England international, who has also appeared on I’m A Celeb, retired from football aged 33 in 2014.
His boxing career ended with that one charity fight and he is now said to refer to himself as a ‘stay-at-home dad’ for the two kids he shares with wife Frankie.
Wayne Bridge retired from football aged 33 due to an injury nightmare
He agreed to a charity contest for BBC Sport Relief
A star forward for the likes of Norwich, Peterborough and Coventry on the pitch, McKenzie would later forge a decent super-middleweight career.
Having hung up his boots in January 2013, he pulled on the gloves just six months later.
A debut win over John Mason at Bethnal Green’s historic York Hall set him on a string of nine fights without defeat.
An English title fight with Jahmaine Smyle saw McKenzie suffer a first defeat before he rounded off an 11-fight career with a nine-round loss to Cello Renda.
The ex-striker also joined forces with former England cricketer Steve Harmison for a talkSPORT podcast on sports stars’ post-retirement plans.
He said: “For a while I was trying to hold on to ‘former professional boxer and footballer’. That was my identity. I’ve accepted my position now.”
Leon McKenzie helped Norwich win promotion to the Premier League in 2004
The 42-year-old put together an impressive 11-fight boxing career
Few footballers have made the switch to boxing as convincingly as Woodhouse.
Birmingham paid £1million to sign the midfielder from Sheffield United in 2001 before spells with Peterborough, Hull and more.
Disenchanted with the game, he quit aged 26 to spark a long career in the ring.
An assault conviction halted Woodhouse‘s rise but he soon began teaming both of his sports.
Over 31 fights, he claimed 24 wins and went 12 rounds with Frankie Gavin for the WBO Intercontinental welterweight belt in 2011.
The Driffield Destroyer won English and British level titles before retiring in 2017, and can now be found managing non-league Gainsborough Trinity.
Birmingham once paid a seven-figure fee to sign Curtis Woodhouse
The midfielder teamed a non-league career with a number of boxing bouts
Woodhouse lost six stone in weight when returning from a spell away from the ring
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I box without fighting?
You can’t train boxing without fighting. It is important to put in the effort to improve your boxing. But if you do, you’ll find that you can improve your boxing technique, speed, endurance, strength, and stamina.
You can improve your boxing technique by watching good boxers compete. Watch how they move, how they throw punches, and how they defend themselves. You can then try to imitate them.
Next, you will need to spar against another fighter. You’ll be able to see how you’ve improved your fighting technique. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can punch and how strong your punches feel.
Doing drills is another way to improve your boxing skills. You can improve your boxing skills with practice, so be patient.
How do beginner boxers train?
Boxing is one among the oldest sports. However, boxing has become very popular in recent years. Boxing is a sport where two fighters face off against each other in a ring. They punch eachother until one is knocked out.
It is important to decide if you like boxing before you can start training to become a fighter. You can watch some boxing matches on YouTube to feel how it feels hitting someone. Once you have decided that boxing is for you, you can decide what style of fight you prefer.
What is the best way to practice boxing punches in your home?
A punching bag can be used to practice boxing punches. The bag is used to practice boxing punches until you feel confident. You can then move on to another area of your body. Once you feel comfortable with one area, you’ll move on to the next.
How to throw a jab:
You can throw a jab by following this easy step-by–step guide.
- Take your step forward with both of your feet.
- Lift your arm up above your shoulder.
- Place your fist on the target.
- After hitting your target, swing your arm backwards.
- Repetition steps 1 through 4.
- It is just like normal sparring with a partner, but you want to throw punches at 75% of your normal speed. (wikihow.com)
- You want to be running at roughly 75-80% of your top speed..5 mile slow, easy recovery jog at the end.X Research source 2Mix in long runs, shadow boxing, and short sprints on non-interval days. (wikihow.com)
How to box for exercise
How to Learn to Box for Exercise
The goal of learning boxing is to improve your physical fitness level and develop self confidence. Boxing is one the most loved sports in the world. It requires speed, strength, agility, stamina and coordination.
Boxing is a great way of getting fit and feeling good about yourself. It will be a fun activity that you will want to do again and again.
There are many boxing training options. Some are held at health clubs or gyms, while others can be done at home. Online courses allow you to learn from anywhere in the globe.
Make sure you choose a program that meets your needs and is compatible with your lifestyle. Exercises that build muscle mass, flexibility, endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and improve overall well-being are the best.
It is important to consider whether you would prefer a beginner’s or an advanced course. Beginner’s programs typically teach fundamental techniques and drills like shadowboxing, sparring and mitt work. Advanced programs cover more complex movements and offer more variety.
Programs for beginners usually last eight weeks and cost less that $100. These programs do not provide guidance about nutrition, weight, injury prevention or any other aspect of boxing training.
Advanced programs last approximately six months and typically cost $300. They often include nutritional advice, stretching routines, warm-up exercises, and instruction on proper technique. Some programs include resistance training, such as lifting weights, and aerobic conditioning, such as running.