Adebayo Akinfenwa set to make his professional wrestling debut

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Adebayo Akinfenwa will make his professional wrestling debut next week.

The cult hero only retired from football five months ago, but he’s already got the itch to get back into the sporting arena – this time swapping the green grass of a pitch for the bouncy canvas of a ring.

While his footballing ability is unquestionable, Akinfenwa is probably remembered most for being one of the most stacked players we’ve ever seen.

Now at 40 years of age, the big man has finally called time on his 21-year career following Wycombe Wanderers’ League One play-off defeat to Sunderland.

But despite hanging up the boots, Akinfenwa hasn’t left our screens.

Away from football, his loveable larger than life personality has seen him build up a huge social media following and even feature regularly on talkSPORT and BT as a well-respected pundit.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

He has now announced his next career endeavour, signing up to make his pro wrestling debut with British promotion PROGRESS Wrestling on October 23.

“I was always asked when I was coming to retirement what I was looking to do and the response was always new experiences,” Akinfenwa told the Daily Mail.

“I was lucky enough to do the thing I love for 22 years but it was a profession. When you retire, it’s just freedom and experiences. It’s always been in the background because of my love for wrestling. I’ve known Anthony Ogogo for a while, years.

“We came across each other when he was a boxer and stayed in contact and the wrestling thing never went away. He unfortunately couldn’t box anymore and he found that love with wrestling and he hit me up and said: ‘Listen, you want to try a few bits?’

“When you find something that you enjoy it makes it a little bit easier. But then the mindset is to try new things and if it lands, it lands. I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed the workouts, I enjoy that it’s intense.”

While Akinfenwa is clearly in good nick, even he admits wrestling takes it toll on the body.

“I tried it, and I ain’t going to lie, it hurts. Anybody that watched me play football knows that when I went down it took me a while to get up, and it takes me even longer to get up in wrestling when I try to move,” he added.

“The training is training, but there are different body things that hurt. Normally I’m the person that pushes people on the floor, but I’m finding myself going on the floor a lot more now. I enjoy my weights, I still do the bike.

“I’m working for BT and they cover wrestling. They know I enjoy wrestling and he was coming over. I enjoyed the workout with him, it’s funny because there’s an element of entertainment but when you’re in the gym it’s real work, and that’s what it was.

“I’ve talked to Anthony, I’ve seen him have surgery. It’s real. Regardless of the entertainment that goes in, you get injured. You will see the statement: “Don’t do this at home”, and you have to practice, you have to work on it, you have to know that you are going to get injured somewhere down the line, that was a conversation we had.

“That’s the thing people sometimes don’t understand. Broken ribs, broken shoulder, broken eye socket, that’s stuff that happens in the sport. Even me, you have to do your due diligence, it really isn’t like anyone can do it and I am really seeing that.”

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