Adebayo Akinfenwa, who retired five months ago, will make his professional wrestling debut next week.
After his Wycome Wanderers team’s 2-0 loss to Sunderland in the League One Play-Off Final at Wembley in May, Akinfenwa, 40, announced the end of a 21-year football career.
The heavyweight athlete, best known for being one of the biggest attackers in the EFL, is now a wrestler and will make an appearance on British promotion PROGRESS Wrestling on October 23.
When Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo takes on Malik at PROGRESS Chapter 145 – Wrestling Witch Face – Trick or Treat at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, the former AFC Wimbledon player will be by his side.
Being open to “new experiences,” the former center-forward, who has long been a fan of the game, decided to give it a shot.
Akinfenwa stated to the Mail: “I was always asked when I was coming to retirement what I was looking to do and the response was always new experiences.”
“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.”
What pushed Akinfenwa to wrestling?
“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.”
Prior to the Clash at the Castle event in Cardiff featuring the world’s top wrestlers, Akinfenwa trained with WWE superstar Sheamus last month.
The tough-talking former Wycombe star acknowledges that despite being choreographed, the sport is very “genuine” and “hurts.”
Akinfenwa also added: “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.
“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.”
Who is Adebayo Akinfenwa?
Saheed Adebayo Akinfenwa, a former striker for the English national team, was born on May 10, 1982.
Akinfenwa is of Nigerian heritage and was born in Islington, North London. While Akinfenwa used to observe Ramadan as a child, he is now a Christian. His father is a Muslim and his mother is a Christian.
His former teammate at Northampton Town, Clarke Carlisle, is a good buddy of his. He grew up supporting Liverpool, and John Barnes was his favorite player.
How strong is Adebayo Akinfenwa?
According to several FIFA videogame editions, Akinfenwa is the world’s strongest football player.
He received an invitation to the FIFA 15 launch party in September 2014, where he joined other famous people and Premier League athletes like Rio Ferdinand, George Groves, and Lethal Bizzle.
Akinfenwa can bench press 180 kg and is said to weigh around 100 kg (16 st; 220 lb) (28 st; 400 lb).
He has a clothing company called Beast Mode On that capitalizes on his reputation as a strong man.
Headline Publishing released his autobiography The Beast: My Story in 2017.