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Blake Ferguson credits boxing for turnaround as he fights for NRL return

Blake Ferguson: "It's been pretty good - staying out of trouble, staying out of nightclubs. Just chilling".

Blake Ferguson: "It's been pretty good - staying out of trouble, staying out of nightclubs. Just chilling". Photo: Wolter Peeters

Whether he actually steps into the ring on Wednesday week remains a subject of debate, but footballer-turned-boxer-turned-footballer-hopeful Blake Ferguson remains convinced that his fighting career has helped turn his life around.

As he announced plans to fight on the undercard of the rescheduled bout between Anthony Mundine and Shane Mosley on November 27, Ferguson said his recent conversion to boxing - not to mention Islam - had helped him.

"It got me out of trouble," Ferguson said after a session on the pads with Tony Mundine at Redfern. "It's been pretty good - staying out of trouble, staying out of nightclubs. Just chilling."

Whether the changes in Ferguson's life are enough to convince rugby league officials that the former Canberra player has turned his life around sufficiently remain to be seen. The NSW representative, sacked by the Raiders after a series of off-field indiscretions, was hopeful he would be playing in 2014 but little more than that.

"It's possible," Ferguson said. "It's all up to the integrity unit. They're the guys that are running the show. I've just got to wait to hear back from them, and we'll go from there. Last time I spoke to them was about a month ago."

The NRL Integrity Unit will reserve judgement until the result of court action against him over an indecent assault charge on a night out prior to State of Origin II, which led to him being stood down by the governing body.

That hasn't stopped Ferguson being linked to clubs. South Sydney have been mentioned regularly, and Ferguson said he would consider a move to the Rabbitohs should an opportunity eventuate, along with any other club which came knocking.

"I'd definitely have a look into it," Ferguson said. "I wouldn't say no to any clubs, because obviously I haven't got a club.

"If I got a run anywhere, it'd be awesome."

He stressed any talks would only progress after his fight.

"I haven't had any contact," Ferguson said. "I'll wait until after the fight. I've got to prepare for the fight the best I can.

"I don't want to get knocked out out there. I'm going to train as hard as I can to look good in the ring."

Ferguson will also hope his conversion to Islam helps his case with the NRL. Ferguson recently took his shahadah (declaration of faith) alongside his mentor and second cousin Anthony Mundine, stressing the decision was his.

"It's a new lease on life I guess," Ferguson said. "It was my own personal preference. Obviously I've seen the way that he (Mundine) lives and what he does, and it's helped him . . . I thought I was going to have to try something different, because other things haven't been working. It is going to be a big part of my life.

"I'm looking forward to the challenges that come ahead, God willing."

For now, his fight against a yet-to-be-confirmed opponent is his immediate challenge. Some maintain that, despite being named on the undercard, Ferguson would not fight. Asked about the suggestions he would pull out late, Ferguson said: "I'm going to be fighting. See me out there? I throw them alright. I won't be having an injury. I'm just going to go out there and give it my best, put on a show for all the fans that come out and watch the fight."

Describing himself as an "aggressive" boxer, while clearly unorthodox in the ring, Ferguson said he would use to the fight to decide whether he was serious about the sport long-term. "I'll see how I go in the ring on the night," Ferguson said. "I've been thinking about it, but I'll see how I go. I've been training hard for it. I feel like it's right for me."

11 comments so far

  • I don't believe in God but I will probably start believing in miracles when the Roosters find room under their salary cap to sign yet another superstar player.

    Date and time
    November 18, 2013, 8:13PM
    • Whoever he fights I hope that someone teaches him a lesson. But being a mundine understudy I doubt that fergerson will fight someone that can stand on his own two feet.

      Date and time
      November 19, 2013, 7:13AM
      • Agree 100%

        Date and time
        November 19, 2013, 10:40AM
    • Whatever the outcome of his fight(?), it is unlikely he could sustain any brain damage. But the NRL Integrity Unit won't show any if it lets him play NRL in 2014. Carney served his time, Dugan should have, and Ferguson better, if only to set some example of the sort of behaviour expected of elite athletes and role models.

      Date and time
      November 19, 2013, 9:48AM
      • Turned his life around? How long has it been, 3 months..Great work you have kept out of trouble for 3 months now.

        Date and time
        November 19, 2013, 1:52PM
        • God willing, oh my.

          Date and time
          November 19, 2013, 2:04PM
          • Mundine 2 step (side-step/blame something/someone else) program obviously better than the 12 step one.

            Date and time
            November 19, 2013, 2:26PM
            • turned his life around? I thought you made that call after five years of keeping it together. sports culture does athletes no favors in letting people off so easy. good people give respect straight up. But when you lose their respect, you have to earn it back, day by day, week by week, with humility, hard work... nothing I've hear about blake ferguson makes him someone I'd want to call a mate.

              Date and time
              November 19, 2013, 8:54PM
              • Fergo v Bob "The Bear" Mirovic. Winner to claim the SFA Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Championship of Australia. You know you wanna see it...

                Fergo Fanatic
                Date and time
                November 20, 2013, 2:07AM
                • Pathetic to claim a religious conversion in order to reclaim a $500K+ career he threw away through his own stupidity.He does the islamic faith and sport of boxing no credit.I doubt either will define association with him as a high-water mark in their histories.

                  I'm guessing both the magistrate in his indecent assault charge and the NRL integrity unit are supposed to now sing praises for his conversion and all will be forgiven.

                  Transparently dodgy just like ever other khoder nasser production!!!

                  Manon DaEdfe
                  Date and time
                  November 20, 2013, 6:17AM

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