Blake Ferguson has broken his silence for the first time since being sacked by the Canberra Raiders, with the controversial NRL star to make his professional boxing debut on the undercard to Anthony Mundine’s fight with Shane Mosley on October 23.
The 23-year-old NSW rugby league representative will fight a four-round heavyweight contest against a yet-to-be-named opponent as he begins his rehabilitation towards a return to the NRL.
Ferguson was shown the door by Canberra after failing to show up for training and not responding to calls from the club in what were the latest in a long list of off-field misdemeanours.
His axing followed a charge of indecent assault that’s still before the courts following a night out with former teammate Josh Dugan in June.
With his elder cousin Mundine by his side at Tony Mundine’s gym in Redfern, Ferguson apologised to the Raiders for his actions, but said he was dealing with a number of personal issues at the time.
“Looking back at it I probably did the wrong thing by the club,” Ferguson said.
“I feel sorry for the fans and the coaching staff and the players that I let down.
“But I had to leave for a reason as there were a few in-house personal things going on in my life.”
Ferguson made the decision to go into the ring just two weeks ago and looked light years away from professional standard as he worked on the pads in the ring with Mundine senior on Tuesday.
However, Anthony Mundine said it was more important that Ferguson restored his focus to get back on the straight and narrow.
“I had to get his mind focused and his mindset right and boxing is the perfect outlet to let him escape from all the dramas of the past,” Mundine said.
“Obviously he’s a novice and no Mike Tyson. But he’s putting his best foot forward and has improved a hell of lot over the last few weeks and had three full sparring sessions now.”
Ferguson said his future in rugby league was in the hands of the NRL and hoped boxing would help convince the powers that he was on the right path to redemption.
“Training is a lot harder than rugby league and it has freed my mind a bit,” he said.
“I am going good, just working through a few things. After the fight I will look at my football again as there are a few opportunities out there.”
After leaving Canberra, Ferguson spent time working as a labourer and realised he was in danger of throwing away a lucrative career.
“I was working for two weeks and it opened my eyes a bit,” he said.
“There was all these million dollar houses and I was thinking `I should own one of these’.
“So I thought I should go back and do something I’m good at.”