WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tony Bellew edged closer to a potential clash after an angry exchange of views on the eve of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko's unification fight at Wembley Stadium. The IBF and WBA titles will be on the line when Joshua and Klitschko go head-to-head in front of 90,000 in what is the biggest ever boxing event on British shores.
Following the pre-fight weigh-in at Wembley Arena, Bellew and Wilder traded barbs during a heated meeting which raises the tantalising possibility of a future fight. Liverpool boxer Bellew is yet to decide whether to continue his career after stopping David Haye on his heavyweight debut in March though he and promoter Eddie Hearn have previously revealed an offer to face Wilder is on the table.
Bellew, 34, has admitted the chance to step into the ring once more may be too lucrative to turn down. Victory over an injured Haye, who was nursing an Achilles injury for much of the 11-round bout, was achieved against the odds and the former WBC cruiserweight champion was quick to remind Wilder of his achievements while conducting media duties ahead of Joshua vs Klitschko.
"I've dealt with someone more powerful than you," he told the American, who will be among those ringside for the fight. "David's more powerful than you. He didn't have one leg in the first few rounds, I dealt with him."
Wilder, who has a 100% win record from his 38 professional fights with 37 coming via knockout, responded furiously with an explicative-laden threat directed towards the Briton. The 31-year-old's last three fights have seen him beat Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola and Artur Szpilka and he reminded Bellew of his reputation as a KO specialist.
"You know what separates me from all the other heavyweights? How I knock them m**********r out," he barked. "Not only have I broken sockets, not only have I broken bones, but I've made them seize on the ground. I don't scare people."
Whether Bellew chooses to delay retirement and take on Wilder remains to be seen, but the Merseysider has carved out a reputation as being a down-to-earth, laid back individual more focused on his family's needs than his own. The Bomber was unperturbed by Wilder's threats and hinted he would be willing to take on the Alabamian.
"You're just man with two arms and two legs," he added. "My boxing brain is far better than yours. I don't think, I know. I have a bigger man on my record than you have on yours. You have no-one to compare. If you want to unify, why are you talking to me? I'll fight anyone. I've just beaten someone who is better than him: it's a fact. I have one name better on my record than he does in nearly 40. That is not up for debate."