Anthony Joshua has told Tyson Fury he has “let boxing down” and called him a “fraud” after hopes faded of a heavyweight world unification fight between the two British champions.
An angry social media confrontation between the pair on Wednesday night could be the closest boxing fans will come to seeing a battle between the two in the coming months.
An arbitration panel in the US has ruled that Fury needs to face Deontay Wilder for a third time first, or he could face a significant financial penalty or the removal of his WBC title.
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A much anticipated clash between the pair looked set for August 14 in Saudi Arabia, but that now looks to be in serious doubt with Fury likely to take on the American in July instead. That led to three-belt world champion Joshua taking it out on his rival on social media - which was predictably met with an angry response.
Writing on Twitter, Joshua tagged Fury before saying “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."
Fury was not going to ignore the jibe, though, and responded almost immediately in a back-and-forth which lasted for around an hour.
He responded with: "Spouting absolute s***! Your full team knew there was an arbitration going on, it was out of my hands!
"But I tell you what if I'm a fraud let's fight this weekend bare knuckles till 1 man quits? Let's put up 20 mill each!!!"
Picking up on a video posted by Fury earlier this week which appeared to confirm their fight was on, Joshua responded.
"If there was an arbitration going on, why announce to the world we are fighting! The fight was signed! UNDISPUTED..
"Bare knuckle? You're a good kid, don't play with me Luke! I'll slap your bald head & you'll do nothing! Waste man."
But Fury signed off, at least with his direct online battle with Joshua, by claiming he would beat both Wilder and his British rival.
"Not going in to the details on line!
"You'll slap me about will you dosser please come and try Bum, i'm waiting... Femi AKA Bottlejob! 24/7 365. Ready. i'll smoke wilder first then you will get yours aswell."
If the fight does not go ahead, it is likely instead that Joshua will take on Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk, the mandatory challenger for his WBO title.
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