Never one to mince words, heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte has labelled bitter rival Deontay Wilder ‘a bad ambassador’ for boxing and a ‘coward’ in a rapidly escalating verbal war.

Whyte, previously the WBC’s long-time No.1 contender, was never able to nail down a shot at then-champion Wilder or his conqueror Tyson Fury, before eventually suffering an upset fifth round KO to Alexander Povetkin in August. 

The Brixton banger is due to rematch the Russian in early 2021, but was surprised when the previously elusive Wilder namechecked him as an imminent opponent, telling the Last Stand Podcast: “Dillian Whyte, I want Dillian Whyte and I want Dillian Whyte. The dude is obsessed with me. I’m the man that he wants to be.”

Wilder is trying to legally force a third fight with Fury following his seven-round hammering against the ‘Gypsy King’ in February though the WBC king maintains that the contract for a trilogy bout has since expired. After making outlandish claims that he lost to Fury because of loaded gloves, spiked water and a heavy ringwalk costume, Wilder has now named Whyte as a possible foe if that bout doesn’t come to fruition.

“Tyson Fury is not fighting him, so who else can he make any money from? Deontay Wilder is not a big draw at all,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “Even when he was heavyweight champion, he could not sell out venues and I think he’s only ever had a couple of fights on pay-per-view. All he does is run around and talk shit.

“He’s a coward. Now he’s got nothing at all to lose, basically. He ignored his duties as the WBC world heavyweight champion [and didn’t fight me]. It’s shocking he was allowed to do it as well. Absolutely shocking.

“When I was the [long-time No.1] challenger, I went through hell trying to get him to man up to fight me, and he wouldn’t fight me, so I’m going to chase the world title [first]. It’s a good fight, a fight that I’m interested in, but he needs to dance to my tune.

“I want to beat the guy up, to be honest with you. Personally, I don’t like him. I think he’s a bad ambassador for the sport. I’m sure the British people and the American fans would love to see me knock him out. It’s going to be war. I’m just there to knock him out.”