RIO Ferdinand has been warned he could “die” in the ring by former footballer and boxer Curtis Woodhouse.
Ferdinand, 38, has taken the surprise step of becoming a professional boxer, more than two years since retiring from football.
Woodhouse quit League Two Grimsby Town in 2006 to switch sports.
And he’s outlined the huge challenge that awaits Ferdinand.
“This is no joke, you can die ‘playing’ boxing,” he warned on Twitter.
Ferdinand will be hoping to emulate the success of Woodhouse, who won the British light-welterweight title in 2012.
He dethroned champion Darren Hamilton to win the belt.
In a separate video, the former Shuffled Sheffield United midfielder added: “Don’t ever write a man off.
“We don’t know what Rio’s got. It might be the second coming of Muhammad Ali.
“I very much doubt it.
“But a lot of the stuff I’m hearing comes from jealousy. People don’t want to give people a chance.
“If Rio is willing to dedicate his life to it and do it properly then who are we pour scorn on it.
“A lot of stuff annoys me and I had it directed at myself. I became a champion of England and Britain.
“Good luck to him. He’s going to go through hell and 99 per cent of people fail and quit, but he might be the one per cent.”
Launching the ambitious project, Ferdinand said: “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.