Dimitar Berbatov jokes he is 'taking over' in boxing ring after Rio Ferdinand fails to get fight licence

Dejected Ferdinand is reeling after 'retiring' from boxing without fighting yesterday after the British Boxing Board of Control rejected his licence application.

And Berbatov snaked out a joky jab at the ex-England defender on Instagram.

The Bulgarian superstar posted a photo of himself, gloved-up in boxing gear, with the message: "Don't worry, @rioferdy5, I am taking over."

At 37, Berba is two years younger that Ferdy.

Former Spurs, Fulham and Monaco frontman Berbatov left his last club, Indian Super Leaguers Kerala Blasters when his contract ended in March.

And, like Ferdinand, he looked in excellent physical shape for boxing in his Instagram snap.

In fact, being in such good shape was the main reason Ferdy was upset to be turned down by the BBBC – whereas former England cricket star Andrew Flintoff got a licence.

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Ferdinand said:  "Having been training 4-5 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 @betfair #DefendertoContender challenge.

"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.

"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, not only for me, but also to @richie_woodhall, @meldeane12 and the countless others who have dedicated their time to my boxing development over the past five months.

"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.

"The sport has given me a new focus and drive and is something I will continue to do as part of my fitness regime."

Stephen Mault, Brand Director UK & Ireland – ‎Betfair, said: "This ambitious challenge was about showing the transformational ability of sport.

"Having previously transformed Victoria Pendleton from Olympic gold medallist to an accomplished amateur jockey competing at the Cheltenham Festival, our aim was to replicate that level of achievement.

"Unfortunately due to powers beyond Rio, Betfair and our team of experts, this is the end of the journey.

"Although we are all disappointed that this challenge is coming to an end, Rio can be immensely proud of his efforts and we want to extend a huge thanks to him for giving it his all and hopefully inspiring others to step outside their comfort zone."

Many fans on social media taunted Ferdy over his failure – but others were puzzled, especially as most felt he looks in better condition than Flintoff.

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