Thanks to Anthony Mundine's influence, Blake Ferguson has converted to Islam in the hope of turning his life around. From now on, his new life will be vastly different from his old one - no drinking, no drugs and no parties. "Alcohol is completely forbidden in Islam and that's been my problem for the last five years, I've had enough, I really have" he said.
Last Friday afternoon, Ferguson made his "declaration of faith" at a Sydney mosque where he and Tony Mundine were photographed praying together.
Sacked by the Raiders and suspended by the NRL for drunken behaviour issues, this talented young sportsman needed a change in direction. Sonny Bill Williams also converted to Islam five years ago after being mentored by Mundine, and his football career is well and truly back on track.
Sonny Bill Williams
Ferguson is going to try his hand at boxing and was supposed to have his first professional fight at the aborted Mosley/Mundine clash on October 23 which has been re-scheduled for later this month.
Just in case you missed it, Mundine was supposed to fight American Shane Mosley on October 23 but the fighter flew home the day before. Mosley said promoter Vlad Warton breached his contract by failing to pay the remainder of his $1 million purse in advance. Mundine and his manager Khoder Nasser have since paid the money and the match is set to take place on November 27.
One sports writer said that when Mundine has a fight coming up, he always manages to attract media attention over some event, and a cynic might say that Ferguson's conversion to Islam helped put Mundine's photo on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.
Mosley and Mundine
To say that Mundine isn't popular with the Australian public would be an understatement, and it's all his own doing. He holds on passionately to the injustices our ancestors inflicted on the Aboriginal people, and won't let go. He has refused to be present while the National Anthem is played, he hates our flag, and after 9/11, he said some things about America that kept corporate sponsors like Nike away in droves.
Mosley has a credible reputation that should attract fight fans to the event, although there were only 1500 tickets sold for the first fight. Mosley is expected to arrive in Sydney later this week.