World champion Tony Yoka has accused Joe Joyce of running scared and derided the Briton as a "robot" ahead of their Olympic super-heavyweight final showdown at Rio Centro on Sunday.
Yoka scored a controversial win over Joyce in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Qatar last year and the sharp-punching Frenchman believes it will give him the psychological edge.
Yoka said: "I have sparred a lot with Joe and I think he is more or less scared of me, psychologically, because of what happened in the World Championships. I don't feel anything when he hits me. He's just obsessed with hitting the other fighter - he's like a robot. He is a good person and very focused and determined, but he is boxing with his muscles, and not with his head."
Joyce had to shrug off a poor start in his semi-final against Kazakh Ivan Dychko, but he came on strong in the latter part of the contest, thundering home big hooks as his opponent tired, to claim a clear decision.
Meanwhile Yoka picked off Croatian opponent Filip Hrgovic from the back foot to win a less convincing decision on the judges' cards, setting up Sunday's showdown to determine who will succeed 2012 champion Anthony Joshua.
Joshua, who was a keen observer at ringside, believes Joyce is a better fighter in many respects than he was when he completed his remarkably swift rise through the ranks to be crowned super-heavyweight champion.
He said: "Compared to the Anthony Joshua we saw in 2012, Joe Joyce could be better, so I believe he will win the gold medal.
"He has more experience and grounding than I had had in 2012 because he has been taking his time. He has good stamina and he has got a better jab, and he can do a back-flip better than me."