JOE COLE is recommending boxing to boost your mental health after the Chelsea legend “absolutely loved” his fight debut.
The former England midfielder, 39, says getting in the ring was his “perfect outlet” following coronavirus lockdowns – as it gave him “one of the biggest buzzes since retiring” as a footballer in 2018.
The ex-West Ham and Liverpool star ploughed forward impressively against Max Thraves – with Chelsea icon John Terry posting “Love it, mate” and an online fan dubbing him “Joe Colezaghe” after the Welsh boxer.
Cole crouched, ducked, moved and measured punches like a man with far more ring experience in an entertaining bout of three two-minute rounds.
The 56-cap star avoided going from football playmaker to fighting haymaker as he showed fine technique rather than swinging wildly.
And three times he rocked Thraves’ head back, via two fierce rights and an equally-emphatic left jab.
There was no obvious announcement of a winner but the ex-Hammer came close to nailing it, albeit puffing a bit between rounds.
And afterwards he posted the highlights alongside an ecstatic message.
Cole said: “Absolutely loved having my first fight, it gave me one of the biggest buzz’s since retiring!
“Big thanks to @clubkobuckhursthill and my opponent Max Thraves – a great guy who managed to catch me with some lovely shots.
“The respect I had for fighters has gone up so many levels as it takes a special and dedicated man or women to step into the ring and compete.
“I don’t like to preach and each to their own, but during lockdown I needed a focus and something to challenge me to keep me on top of my mental health and this proved to be the perfect outlet for me.
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“Loved the journey, the training and the banter at the gym so a massive thanks to Noel and the team there.
“It worked for me, so If anyone is struggling with mental health or just wants a challenge to work towards please give it a go, who knew having a fight can clear the mind.”
Former team-mates joined the praise on Instagram, Joleon Lescott: labelling him “Joe the bomber Cole” and Scott Minto posting “Love that. Sugar Ray Cole.”
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