Wladimir Klitschko has compared Tyson Fury to Adolf Hitler and called for him to be stripped as a world champion while Anthony Joshua revealed he was more terrified of spiders than his opponents - just another routine day in boxing's heavyweight division.

Klitschko, beaten by Fury in November last year and preparing for the rematch in Manchester on July 9, launched an attack on the Briton, now holder of the World Boxing Organisation, World Boxing Association and The Ring Magazine belts.

Klitschko accused Fury of being anti-semitic, homophobic and sexist after comments on a YouTube internet video last month said: "I'm fighting a guy who can't hold his mouth on certain things. I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community and when he got to the Jewish people he sounded like Hitler. The man is an imbecile."

"You cannot put it all together as a representation of the sport of boxing. He's an imbecile champion," added Klitschko, talking from his Tyrolean hideaway in Austria.

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"It puts the world of boxing in the wrong spot. He represents not just himself, but the sanctioning bodies, a lot of boxing fans in general, it's not just about him and he needs understanding but he obviously doesn't. In this crazy world when we can see all that's going on, we don't need someone having this stage and bringing hate to Jewish people, I can't accept.

"As I said, he sounds like Hitler, I cannot accept it and I don't accept. The man is probably mentally sick," said the 40-year-old, who reigned as the heavyweight champion unbeaten for nine and a half years.

"It's not just British fans I'll be doing a favour when I beat him, it'll be for Klitschko fans and boxing fans in general. We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or just suspended, because you cannot create more hate. Friction creates friction, the more hate you bring out there - with women, the gay community and Jewish people - what next is he going to say? It's just something we don't need in this world, it's beyond boxing."

Joshua, meanwhile, the 26-year-old Briton who faces American Dominic Breazeale in the first defence of the International Boxing Federation title in London on Saturday, explained that spiders terrify him.

"I hate spiders. If you're sleeping in bed, you don't want to see some spider next to you getting cosy. I'm more terrified of spiders than I am of losing in the ring," said the undefeated heavyweight champion who has knocked out all of his 16 opponents.