Tyson Fury has revealed that texts he sent scuppered plans for Anthony Joshua to fight Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight showdown clash.
Joshua and Wilder were in negotiations about a proposed fight for almost a year, but talks collapsed because of messages that Fury sent, texting Wilder directly to ensure a fight between the "Gypsy King" and the American went ahead instead.
And on Saturday night, Mancunian Fury meets Wilder in the ring in Los Angeles for the right to claim the WBC belt.
The 30-year-old, who returned the boxing earlier in the summer following on from his ban, explained what thwarted plans for a Joshua v Wilder fight.
“I’ll tell you what happened. Wilder will tell the story better than me because he’s got the messages in his phone," Fury told iFL TV.
“When this whole situation was going on with Joshua and Wilder, like they were supposed to fight and then they weren’t fighting, they were asking this much money, that much money.
“I sort of thought to myself, you know what, everyone is getting excited about these two fighting and it’s not going to happen.
“So I text Wilder and I said, ‘Look, forget Joshua, he’s not the real deal, he’s obviously got no bottle, but if you want to fight a real fighting man, who will step up and defend the country, then you’re looking at the right man’.
“I said, ‘You send me the contract, I will not decline’.
“He said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it. F*** Joshua. Let’s do the fight. Let’s give the fans what they want’.
“So the deal was made very quickly. I phoned Robert [Smith], Robert got on the phone to [Wilder’s] manager and promoter, and the deal was done within a week.
“There wasn’t anything hard about this deal to be made. Nothing. I’ve said it many, many times.
“Wilder and his team are nothing but gentlemen.”