Adebayo Akinfenwa Pulled Out Of Wrestling Debut At The Last Minute


Hamish Woodward

Former footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa pulled out of his debut match in wrestling with very little notice.

The striker was one of the most interesting characters in the lower leagues of English football. He starred for teams like Swansea City and Wycombe Wanderers, with his bodybuilder physique a rarity in the sport.

Akinfenwa was known for his football skills and social media work. He became famous outside of football, and looked to make the move into wrestling alongside friend Anthony Ogogo.

He accompanied Ogogo for his match against Malik at Progress 145. He helped the Olympian pick up the win in one of his best matches, before setting up a tag match a week later.

At PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapter 146, Adebayo Akinfenwa was scheduled to make his in-ring debut and team with Anthony Ogogo against Malik and Kosta Konstantino.

However, at the last minute, he pulled out of the show. The striker claimed his shoulder was at “95%”, but that he’d been “called away” and could not wrestle.

He claimed this on a video posted to the official Progress Wrestling Twitter account.

Given the lack of training footage posted from the former player, it is starting to look like he never planned to wrestle. As of 2024, Akinfenwa has yet to wrestle a single match.

While it looked like he would follow in the footsteps of Stuart Tomlinson, Grant Holt and Tim Wiese in swapping the pitch for the ring, Adebayo Akinfenwa looks unlikely to become a professional wrestler.

Akinfenwa’s Teammate Was Excited To See Him Wrestle

Mark Bloomfield, who played alongside Akinfenwa at Wycombe, was excited to see “Bayo” in the wrestling ring for the first time.

The player turned manager was not surprised to see the striker in the ring, noting how he was one of the strongest players in the league when they shared the pitch.

Bloomfield told Progress:

“I’m absolutely not shocked! Bayo is the type of guy who can turn his arm to anything, he’s always been the strongest player in the Football League, and he’s got the personality. I know with wrestling he’s always been keen on it and I’m really excited to see what the future can be for him.

“Bayo is a good person and such a charismatic kind of guy, people love him and I’m absolutely sure people will love him at PROGRESS Wrestling as well! 

“It’s a massive change but you’ve seen Bayo’s social media accounts when he’s been on TV and his documentary, he can turn to anything that he wants to do. He’s got the personality and mindset that he can do anything he wants, he doesn’t know when he’s beat, he doesn’t know the meaning of can’t.

“Everything is a can do for him, but it’s a totally different sport away from scoring goals at the back post, he’ll be getting involved in all the different types of wrestling moves.

“He feels he can take on anything he puts his mind to and can accomplish anything that he puts his mind to in anything he wants to do, so wrestling is just the next one and I think he can pull it off.

“I’ve seen him pull off a few wrestling moves already on the pitch when we were playing at Adams Park for Wycombe, so defenders will understand what the wrestlers are going to be in for, but it’s his personality and his desire to compete and succeed at anything he does. 

“He’s always the most dedicated one in the room so it will be the same as this.”


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