Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have whetted the appetite for a potential future showdown with a war of words on social media.
Morecambe’s former world heavyweight champion has labelled the current IBF belt holder, who faces Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley later this month in front of a post-war record crowd for a fight in Britain of 90,000, a “poor man’s Frank Bruno”.
Joshua for his part says Fury’s inactivity is the only reason the pair are yet to meet and has demanded a date for when the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” will be able to fight him.
Fury, 28, wrote on Twitter: “Anthony Joshua is a poor man’s Frank Bruno.”
The reference to the muscular physiques of two fighters considered by some to be one-dimensional was met with short shrift by the London 2012 gold medalist.
The 27-year-old responded by saying: “Typical Tyson Fury, always talking BS around fight time.
“Same offer as last time. Two ringside tickets, don’t bring a plus one, it’s for your fat ass.”
In November 2015 Fury became the first fighter in 11 years to defeat Klitschko and transform the heavyweight picture into the one in which Joshua has thrived.
He posted: “I might be fat, but you’re a paper champ and paper-chinned weightlifting rudeboy, wannabe badman.
“Know your place chump! Or I’ll come back and KO you.”
Finally, Joshua said: “Shut up and give me a date when you’ll be back!
“You’re the only reason we haven’t had a fight yet! Be about what you say. I ain’t going nowhere.”
Terms for a rematch between Fury and Klitschko were twice agreed before the former was forced to postpone, first owing to an ankle injury and then to focus on recovering from depression.
Whether Fury will ever fight again remains in doubt, but in his absence Joshua has become one of the world’s leading heavyweights.
IBF champion Joshua and Klitschko meet at Wembley on April 29 with Fury’s former WBA and IBO titles also on the line.
Katie Taylor will face Nina Meinke in an eliminator for the WBA World Lightweight title on the undercard having raced to 4-0 as a professional.
The Irish star is the fourth Olympic gold medal winner on the card, joining fellow London 2012 winners Joshua and Luke Campbell MBE, while Klitschko claimed gold in the Atlanta games in 1996.
Campbell faces former World Lightweight champion Darleys Perez, who represented Columbia in the 2008 Beijing games, making it eight Olympians in total with Team GB’s Rio trio of Lawrence Okolie, Joe Cordina and Josh Kelly.
Elsewhere Scott Quigg continues his quest to become a two-weight world champion by facing Viorel Simion at featherweight.