Rio's bid for boxing fame backed by Betfair

Rio's bid for boxing fame backed by Betfair

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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Betfair are the primary sponsor of the 'contender to defender project'
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With the backing of Betfair, former Manchester United and England defender, Rio Ferdinand is turning is hand at the sport of boxing.

After a hugely successful career in English football, spanning 15 years, 81 England caps, six Premier League titles and a Champions League for Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand today announced he has partnered with online bookmaker Betfair to lace up the gloves and take up a new sport.

As part of the ‘Defender to Contender’ project, Ferdinand will be transforming himself into a boxer, with Betfair helping him qualify for his British Boxing Board of Control (BBBOC) licence before he then begins training and competing for a title belt.

Explaining his reasons for taking on the challenge, Rio said: “When Betfair approached me about the Defender to Contender challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw.

“Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body. I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible. It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly, clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer, but with the team of experts Betfair are putting together and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible.”

Betfair is preparing Ferdinand by assembling a team of world-class boxing and conditioning experts to support him throughout the journey.  Rio will be training with former WBC super-middleweight Champion turned Team GB trainer, Richie Woodhall.

Richie has devised a training schedule involving fitness and technical boxing preparation, and he will work closely with Rio’s personal trainer, Mel Deane, to condition Rio over the coming months. Betfair will also introduce a number of former and current boxers to Rio at key points in the campaign to help him prepare for specific fights and hone specific skills.

Betfair, which successfully helped Victoria Pendleton transition from Olympic cyclist to Cheltenham jockey in the ground-breaking ‘Switching Saddles’ challenge in 2016, will once again help provide an unexpected perspective on a great British sport. Through Rio’s challenge, it intends to profile the skills, athleticism and courage faced by boxers around the world.

Henry Chappell, Chief Executive at Pitch Marketing who are behind the campaign told “The Defender to Contender campaign follows on from our award winning campaign for Betfair to transform Victoria Pendleton from Olympic cyclist to Cheltenham jockey. We are very confident this campaign is going to have an even bigger impact.

Rio is a footballing legend with an extremely large social media following amongst UK sports fans. He is in the shape of his life, and up for a new challenge.

We will implement an integrated year-long marketing campaign in order to maximise interest and engagement as Rio makes the transition from footballer to professional boxer. It’s going to be a compelling sports story.”

Totally Gaming says: The journey of Rio Ferdinand into the sports of boxing, whether succesful or not is going to be massively entertaining, for Betfair it provides an immense opportunity for brand exposure as the operator's logo is represented hevily on Rio as he partakes on his journey. 

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