Anthony Joshua has called Tyson Fury “a fraud” as the British boxing rivals engaged in a heated war of words on social media over a doubtful heavyweight title bout.
On Monday, a US court ruled that Deontay Wilder has a contractual right to face Fury for a third time before September 15.
The verdict threw the undisputed title fight in doubt.
The development also spurred Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, into saying that the unified world champion is already looking at “Plan B.”
It was reported on Wednesday that WBO has given Joshua a 48-hour ultimatum to salvage the fight with Fury or be forced to face Oleksandr Uysk, a mandatory challenger.
Reacting to the turn of events, Joshua took to his Twitter page to express his anger at Fury. He also called Fury “a fraud” while accusing him of “lying” to the fans and “clout chasing”.
“The world now sees you for the fraud you are. You’ve let boxing down! You lied to the fans and led them on. Used my name for clout not a fight. Bring me any championship fighter who can handle their business correctly,” the unified champion wrote.
In his reaction, Fury slammed Joshua’s team while challenging the 31-year-old to a “bare knuckles” fight.
“You are more full of [rubbish] than [promoter Eddie Hearn]. Your full team knew there was an arbitration going on, it was out of my hands! If I’m a fraud let’s fight this weekend bare knuckles until one man quits,” the 32-year-old tweeted.
Joshua then hit back, saying: “If there was an arbitration going on, why announce to the world we are fighting! The fight was signed! I’ll slap your bald head and you’ll do nothing!”
Fury retorted by tagging Joshua a “bottle job” and threatened to return to him after he defeated Wilder.
“Ready. I’ll smoke Wilder first then you will get yours as well,” he added.
Joshua holds the WBO, WBA and IBF belts, meaning a bout with Fury would have been the first at heavyweight for all four world titles.