Tyson Fury accused Deontay Wilder of looking for a way out of Saturday’s WBC heavyweight title fight after the two had to be separated at the conclusion of a heated press conference.
The 30-year-old Fury remained relaxed throughout as, similarly to when he dressed as Batman to promote his fight with the similarly-bemused Wladimir Klitschko, he got to his feet and goaded the champion.
Wilder, uncharacteristically, became increasingly angry until his aggressive confrontation with a then-smiling Fury.
The two fighters’ entourages became involved as shoves were exchanged and the challenger removed his shirt.
There was little question that Morecambe fighter Fury had consistently remained the more composed of the two, but he later insisted Wilder was attempting to provoke him to throw a punch that could have left Saturday’s fight in jeopardy.
Wilder remains undefeated in his 40 fights as a professional but Fury, at Los Angeles’ Staples Centre, will represent his most challenging opponent, and he said: “I believe Wilder wanted me to aim the left hook so that the fight would be cancelled.
“He wanted to trick me into hitting him so that he could get out of the fight.
“I’m not going to make that mistake – I’m not going to lose my purse.
“He knows he can’t win and it’s clear for everyone to see now. He’s a very nervous character and by the looks of it he doesn’t want to fight. He talks a good game but he talks nonsense really.
“He wanted me to get a massive fine but I’m not that stupid. He’s rattled.”
“Wilder’s nervous; he felt he needed to scream and shout and make threats.
“We’re fighting men but he had his big team there.
“We’re not afraid of anyone, if you want to fight on the street or the stage that’s fine, but we’re here to do a job for sport and be professional.”