After notifying the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) of his “intention to apply for a licence”, Ferdinand said he had “received confirmation” that they would “not be reviewing my application at this point in time”.
In a statement on Facebook, the 39-year-old said that to “not be given the chance to demonstrate my ability to the BBBoC through the standard assessment afforded to others is hard to take”.
He is hanging up his gloves with a “heavy heart”.
Having been training 4-5 times a week since announcing the aim of achieving a professional boxing licence & stepping into the ring, it is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves on @Betfair#DefendertoContender challenge.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) May 3, 2018
The former Manchester United and England footballer, who announced his decision to try for a pro licence last September, said he had been “training 4-5 times a week” with the aim of competing in Betfair’s Defender to Contender challenge.
The sportsman, who has worked as a football pundit since retiring from the game, added that he had “never felt better physically or mentally”.
“To say I’m disappointed by this decision is an understatement,” he wrote.
Underlining that disappointment, he said boxing had given him a “new focus & drive”. He will continue to do it as part of his fitness regime.
“Boxing is a physically tough, demanding and dangerous sport,” he said.
“I always gave it my utmost respect and never underestimated how difficult it would be.
“I wanted to show people that it’s OK 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.”
Ferdinand thanked “Richie, Mel and the countless others who have dedicated their time to my boxing development over the past six months”.
It had been a “great journey”, he said.