20 most talented multiple sportspeople after Conor McGregor’s granted boxing license
Sam Barnard | 6 December 2016
20 most talented multiple sportspeople
After making history by becoming the UFC’s first ever simultaneous two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor has caused a stir while on a break following his heroics at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Following that latest knockout success over Eddie Alvarez to clinch the lightweight strap at UFC 205, the Irishman has been granted a professional boxing license in the American state of California. Such news has rejuvenated reports of a showdown with Floyd Mayweather, a fight McGregor is 9/1 with Coral to win.
BREAKING: Connor McGregor has acquired a boxing license in California… pic.twitter.com/5upsaK4Odf
— Coral (@Coral) December 1, 2016
So, in light of the surprising ‘Notorious’ news, Coral have come up with 20 others that have played professionally in two or more sports ahead of his potential swapping of the octagon for the ring.
Sir Viv Richards: Cricket and football
Often said to be one of the greatest cricketers on the history of the game, the former West Indies batsman averaged over 50 in his 121 Test matches. Unknown to most, though, he played international football for his home Caribbean island Antigua in 1974 World Cup qualifying games.
Fred Perry: Tennis and table tennis
All-time tennis great Perry won the career Grand Slam, and is the last Englishman to have picked up one of the sport’s major prizes. He also happened to be the table tennis World Champion in 1929.
Michael Jordan: Basketball and baseball
Probably the most world-recognised name on this list, Jordan (simply known as MJ) broke multiple records, as well as winning a whole host of personal and team awards as a basketball player. However, he decided to switch to baseball in 1993 due to his father’s lifelong wish, but perhaps should have avoided the transition after a terrible two-year spell.
Sir Ian Botham: Cricket and football
Beefy is one of England’s best and most exciting cricketers in history, and certainly top all-rounder. It was not just his multiple skills with the bat and ball, though, that were impressive, as he turned out for Yoevil Town and Scunthorpe United football clubs as a solid centre back over a seven-year period.
Sonny Bill Williams: Rugby union/league and boxing
New Zealander Williams is one of rugby league’s modern greats, and switches codes to union back and forth with such ease, playing at international level for both and recently lifting the World Cup. But, it also known that the beast of a man has tipped his toes into the world of boxing, winning all seven of his professional heavyweight fights.
Fabien Barthez – football and motor racing
Known to the world of football as one of France’s greatest ever goalkeepers, winning the World Cup and European Championship with his nation. Since retiring, though, he has tried out motorsport racing, where he and his team placed 29th in the 2014 edition of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Bo Jackson: American football and baseball
Perhaps not as popular name in Europe, but Jackson is the only person in history to be named as an All-Star in two major American sports, which were American football and baseball. Arguably the most talented at two different sports from this list.
Compton brothers (Les and Denis): Cricket and football
Two brothers who would have something to say about that, were they still alive, though, are cricketing/football wonders Denis (grandfather of Nick) and Les Compton. The former was one of the greatest cricketers of all time, and won a First Division title and FA Cup with Arsenal with the latter, who also gained two caps for England’s national football team. They were both accomplished professionals in the opposite sport as well.
Katie Taylor: Boxing, football and Gaelic football
While boxing is her main sport – the pinnacle of her career being winning Gold at the 2012 London Olympics before recently turning pro – Taylor also has 11 caps for the Republic of Ireland women’s association football team. She has played for local Gaelic football side Fergal Og of Bray as well. A national hero in her homeland, she was named Sportsperson of the Year in 2012 at Ireland’s People of the Year Awards.
Clive Allen: Football and American football
Tottenham club legend Allen scored 60 goals in over 100 appearances for the north Londoners in the 1980s, earning himself five England caps. However, following his fruitful footballing career, he joined NFL Europe side London Monarchs as a placekicker for a year.
Niall Quinn: Football and Gaelic football
Another Irish sporting legend on this list, Quinn is the Republic of Ireland’s second highest football scorer in history. Before turning out for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland, though, he was a promising Gaelic football player. He could have even played Australian rules football, but instead chose a higher-paid profession. Quinn went back to Gaelic football after retirement.
Dwain Chambers: Athletics, rugby league and American football
Disgraced drugs cheat Chambers was one of the world’s best sprinters, before being banned for two years. In that time, he tried out others sports, with a spell at NFL Europa side Hamburg Sea Devils, after an unsuccessful trial with NFL outfit San Francisco 49ers, before failing to be recruited by rugby league club Castleford.
Rebecca Romero: Rowing and cycling
After winning Silver in her first sport, rowing, in the quadruple sculls at the 2004 Athens Olympics, she thought what else could she try her hand in. She took up cycling and, at the next Games in Beijing 2008, won Gold in the individual pursuit, became the second woman ever to win a medal in two Summer Olympic sports.
Andrew Flintoff: Cricket and boxing
More commonly known as a cricketing all-round superstar but, prior to an unsuccessful attempt in pedalo driving, then took up boxing. In his only professional fight, he managed to edge American Richard Dawson on points, in what has to be one of the lowest-quality televised sporting events in history. He since made a short-lived late return to cricket with Lancashire and Brisbane Heat.
Andriy Shevchenko: Football and golf
Highly-decorated in his footballing career, most notably with AC Milan, he took up politics and stood for election to the Ukrainian Parliament in 2012 after quitting the game. However, that failed, and so he decided to do what any normal retired person would do and take up golf. It just so happens he was rather good at it, and took part in a professional tournament in 2013 – the Kharkov Superior Cup. Shevchenko has now returned to football and is national team boss of Ukraine.
David Lloyd: Cricket and football
Everyone’s favourite cricket commentator ‘Bumble’ was also a very talented sportsman in his (hard-to-imagine) youth. The Lancashire all-rounder played nine Tests for England, once getting an unbeaten double century, and also featured for semi-professional football side Accrington Stanley (who are they?) in the 1960s.
Lawrence Okoye: Discus and American football
Man mountain Okoye enjoyed success as a discus star, taking part in the 2012 Olympics, but has now crossed sports and the Atlantic where he has been on the books of San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and now Chicago Bears. He also happened to have once gained an offer from Oxford University to study law.
Adam Gemili: Athletics and football
Britain’s newest sprinting star keeps getting better and better since turning his back on football, having once been in Chelsea’s youth academy. The youngster already has two Silver medals to his name at the recent Commonwealth Games, as well as a Gold in the 200m at the European Championships in Zurich.
Joe Gatting: Cricket and football
Last, and probably least, on this list is nephew of England cricketing legend Mike Gatting, Joe. He started his sporting career as a striker for football club Brighton and Hove Albion, but decided to switch to cricket in 2009, where he was an accomplished batsman for Hampshire, after moving from Sussex.