Sylvester Stallone gave the world the 'Rocky' franchise, but the star has hit out at news of a possible spin-off film surrounding Ivan Drago.

We reported last week that a film based on the Russian boxer was in the works, but Stallone took to Instagram in a since-deleted post expressing his displeasure at the project.

Stallone has been in open conflict with series producer Irwin Winkler about his handling of the franchise, accusing him of "once again picking the bones clean of another wonderful character I created without even telling me"

He added "I apologise to the fans, I never wanted Rocky characters to be exploited by these parasites."

Stallone also had some choice words for co-star Dolph Lundgren, saying "I once had nothing but respect for Dolph but he never told me about what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him - real friends are more precious than gold.”

Stallone's 'Rocky IV' co-star Dolph Lundgren has indicated he has reached out to Stallone, and offered an update on the film.

"Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spinoff. There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor."

"There was a press leak last week which was unfortunate. In touch with Mr. Balboa - just so all the fans can relax."

Stallone has become openly vocal in recent weeks about Winkler's handling of the franchise, which has led to him pulling out of starring in 'Creed 3'.

'Creed 3' recently had its release date pushed to March 2023 with star Michael B. Jordan stepping behind the camera, following in the grand series tradition of stars directing.

Stallone directed four films in the 'Rocky' franchise, and reprised his role as the iconic Rocky Balboa in 2015's 'Creed' and the 2018 sequel 'Creed II'.