WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has branded Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn “cowards”.

On Tuesday, it emerged Joshua had been ordered by the WBA to agree a deal to face Russia’s Alexander Povetkin.

The move means any bout between Joshua – who also holds the IBF and WBO belts – and Wilder, looks set to be delayed.

In an expletive-laden tweet, Wilder said: “You’re not a true champion‼️ You’re just a weak minded coward that’s holding hard metal. #Facts.”

Any bout between Joshua, 28, and Wilder, 32, would see the winner become the first man in history to hold all four heavyweight world titles.