Deontay Wilder has accused Anthony Joshua of lacking the bottle to fight him in a unifaction for the world heavyweight belts.
The American, known as the Bronze Bomber, puts his WBC title on the line when he climbs into the ring against Miami-based Cuban defector Luis Ortiz tomorrow (Saturday) in New York.
Victory is not assured as Ortiz lives up to his own “King Kong” nickname with 24 KOs in 28 wins. But Wilder (39 wins, 38 KOs, no defests) is a heavy odds-on favourite to triumph with bookmakers.
And a royal rumble should be fixed up if WBA and IBF champion Joshua beats WBO king Joseph Parker in Cardiff at the end of this month.
American Wilder, though, has taunted Britain’s AJ by basically claiming he is running scared and claiming there has been no contact with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn about a mega-deal.
“We’re ready on this side of the pond,” said Wilder. “Joshua is like a cow, Eddie Hearn is milking him for every dollar. There have been no negotiations at all, no deal has been offered. But the world wants to see me and Joshua get in the ring.”
Hearn, also speaking to the BBC, said: “Deontay Wilder has tried to sell his whole fight on Anthony Joshua – he should worry about Luis Ortiz. Anthony will fight anyone and, as we have stated a thousand times, he wants to be the undisputed champion. If he beats Joseph Parker then he just needs one more belt.
“Wilder doesn’t have a promoter so is on a one-man salesman mission – get your head on Ortiz, let us deal with Parker then join us back in the real world and this fight will get made very quickly.”
Meanwhile the fight with Ortiz at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn has been the subject of rumours that it will be scrapped.
Ortiz appeared at scores conference with gloves on his hands complaining it is cold.
But while it is freezing in the United Kingdom with Storm Emma and the Beast from the East plunging the temperatures well below zero, it has been remarkably warm in the Big Apple for this time of year.
Ortiz, who has twice failed drugs tests and pulled out of the original date to fight Wilder last autumn, has denied he has a hand injury.
“It is nothing,” he insisted when repeatedly questioned about why he was wearing gloves. All is good.”