Tyson Fury got up close and personal with Deontay Wilder after the American retained his version of the world heavyweight title in New York on Saturday night.
The Morecambe giant was ringside at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to see Wilder’s 35th knockout as he stopped Poland’s Artur Szpilka in their WBC title clash.
Wilder struggled for large portions of the fight but left Szpilka flat on his back out cold with a powerful right hand with 36 seconds remaining in the ninth round to improve his record to 36-0.
Fury. the WBA and WBO champion, then took the to the ring to go nose-to-nose with Wilder ahead of a possible unification fight later in the year.
The former British and Commonwealth champion, who first has a rematch against Wladimir Klitschko to negotiate, said: “Any time! Any place! Anywhere!
“Like I did Klitschko, I’ll beat you, ya bum, You’re a bum.”
Wilder fired back in a post-fight interview: “We all know Fury is just a phony. This is just an act. I’m not scared of anybody. We’ll come to your backyard.
“This is just an act - you’re not a real fighter. I don’t play. This isn’t wrestling. This isn’t the WWE. When you do step in that ring with me I promise you I will baptise you.
“I would love to fight him next. Unfortunately I have other mandatories due. Make the date Tyson, I promise you.”
Elsewhere on the card the IBF version of the heavyweight title Fury was stripped off was won by Charles Martin, the American picking up the vacant belt after Vyacheslav Glazkov was forced to retire through injury.
Earlier in the night back in London David Haye made a successful return to the ring with a first-round knockout of the overmatched Mark de Mori after a three-and-a-half year absence.
Haye, who twice had to abort clashes with Fury due to injury, dismissed the idea of getting in the ring with the undisputed heavyweight champion post-fight.
He said: “Tyson Fury is pretty clear about not wanting to fight me.
“I said I’ll work my way up the rankings, and he said he’d relinquish the belts instead of fight me so why bother (pursuing him)?
“Why not go for bigger, better fights? A bigger fight’s Anthony Joshua. I believe that fight can be made later on in the year. I’m in shape, I’m punching hard. I’m a little bit older. It’ll make for a great fight. That’s the type of fight I want, that’s why I’m back in boxing. It’s the big fights, I need that.
“Fury’s a good fighter. You don’t go to Germany and do what he did (in beating Wladimir Klitschko). It’s a shame he doesn’t want to fight me but I think we all know why when you see power like that (tonight).
“I want to unify the heavyweight division. I set my plan out to do that many years ago and I fell short. I tried to come back against Dereck Chisora (before injuries sidelined me).
“I’m going to make a serious run at this heavyweight division. There are titles all over the place at the moment and it’ll take someone like me to clean it up.
“This was always going to be my hardest fight: the first back after three years out, the unknown.”