TYSON FURY goaded Deontay Wilder FIVE years before the pair eventually met in the ring.
And the Bronze Bomber was seriously rattled by the Gypsy King, according to his friend and David Haye’s former sparring partner Richard Towers.
Wilder and Fury both attended a boxing event in Rotherham in 2013 – not long after the American had destroyed Audley Harrison in Sheffield.
And the pair came head-to-head in a frosty exchange five years before their first fight in December 2018.
The incident led to one of the biggest heavyweight rivalries of the modern era.
And Towers – who forged a friendship with Wilder during the early years of his career – recently recalled the meeting.
Fury’s cousin Hughie, Chris Eubank Jr and Kid Galahad were on the card at the Magna Centre but Wilder’s presence gained the most attention.
Towers said: “Deontay was staying at my house, we got invited to the show.
“Deontay was doing an interview with cameras, Tyson Fury walked past and went, ‘One day, one day!’
“Deontay said: ‘Any time man, any time.’
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“You could see Tyson was smiling. Deontay takes things seriously.
“Deontay said: ‘Yo Richard man, this guy wants to watch himself’.
“I was like, ‘Forget all that, it’s just to build the process’.”
Wilder had Fury on the canvas in their first bout before the Gypsy King somehow got up only for the fight to be called a draw.
And after months of trash talk, the pair finally met again last February and Fury made no mistake – winning via a seventh round TKO.
But former cruiserweight champion and Sky pundit Johnny Nelson, 54, vividly remembers the night it all began in Rotherham.
He told Sky Sports: “I can remember it distinctly because my ex-wife was flirting with Deontay at the time.
“Those two got in the ring. It was cordial. They were basically saying, ‘We’ll fight each other, our time will come’. A bit of back and forth between them.
“It wasn’t nasty, but it was the beginning of something. There was a bit of tension there.
“I thought, yeah cool, I can see this happening.
“They knew they would share the ring. They actually said, ‘We’ll fight one day’, the crowd loved it.”