Defender to Contender: Rio Ferdinand steps up training at Team GB boxing base

Rio taking tips from Team GB Boxing's Frazer Clarke in Sheffield
Rio taking tips from Team GB Boxing's Frazer Clarke in Sheffield
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Rio Ferdinand is stepping up his training for Defender to Contender by visiting his coach and former WBC super-middleweight champion, Richie Woodhall, at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, where Team GB Boxing is based...

"As we progress on the journey, both Betfair and myself wanted Rio to have the experience of training alongside other fighters. I have an existing role with Team GB Boxing and it makes sense for Rio to join me here to watch and learn in an Olympic environment."

Betfair boxing ambassador Woodhall, a coach for Team GB Boxing, believes it will be beneficial for Ferdinand to train alongside top-class fighters on a consistent basis and watch how they approach each session.

Starting on Monday February 5, Rio has been travelling to Sheffield to do one-to-one work with Richie, while also being able to witness the elite performance programme in place with Team GB boxing.

The approach of training with and alongside Olympians mirrors the success Betfair had in pairing Victoria Pendleton with British Eventing Team Performance Manager, Yogi Breisner, for the Switching Saddles campaign.

Woodhall said: "Rio has been progressing superbly. The focus, determination and athleticism that he has from his football career are highly beneficial.

"As we progress on the journey, both Betfair and myself wanted Rio to have the experience of training alongside other fighters. I have an existing role with Team GB Boxing and it makes sense for Rio to join me here to watch and learn in an Olympic environment."

Ferdinand will continue to train at his base in Kent with Richie, alongside the work he does with fitness trainer Mel Deane. His immediate goal remains to achieve a professional licence.

"I'm really enjoying the challenge, it's given me a renewed energy and focus that you only get from learning something for the first time," Rio said.

"It's great to see the gains and, physically, I feel in great shape. I can't wait for the next chapter of this journey."

The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield is a publicly funded facility, as such, Betfair will be paying to use the gym on a session by session basis and hope, as part of the Defender to Contender campaign, to support shining a light on the excellent system Team GB has in place.

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