Rio Ferdinand refused boxing license before first fight

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The British Boxing Board of Control's decision not to review the former defender's license bid has led him to call time on his boxing dream

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has called time on his proposed professional boxing career before contesting a single bout.

Ferdinand, 39, intended to box in the cruiserweight division under the guidance of former super-middleweight world champion and Team GB coach Richie Woodall, as part of a project dubbed "Defender to Contender" that was backed by online betting company Betfair.

However, in a statement issued on his Facebook page, Ferdinand announced the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) were not willing to take his application for a boxing license forward.

"Having been training four to five times a week since announcing the aim of achieving a professional boxing licence and stepping into the ring, it is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves on the Defender to Contender challenge," his statement read.

"Despite having never felt better physically or mentally, after notifying the British Boxing Board of Control of my intention to apply for a licence, I have received confirmation that they would not be reviewing my application at this point in time.

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"To say I'm disappointed by this decision is an understatement. To not be given the chance to demonstrate my ability to the BBBoC through the standard assessment afforded to others is hard to take."

Ferdinand added: "Boxing is a physically tough, demanding and dangerous sport. I always gave it my utmost respect and never underestimated how difficult it would be.

"I wanted to show people that it's okay to have a goal and strive to reach it. It's important to approach everything with success in mind, and to give it your all, but sometimes things work against you."