With massive fights around the corner against some of the bigger names in the division, Joshua was ordered to face Kubrat Pulev by the IBF, a fight of no real interest to Hearn in the grand scheme of things.
As ‘AJ’ had no choice in the matter to keep all his title belts, Hearn set up the Pulev fight with his friends over at Sauerland in order to begin 2018 with a clean slate for Joshua to choose from.
With WBA number one Luis Ortiz already out of the picture, Hearn and Joshua knew the importance of getting this obligation out of the way in earnest.
Once Pulev has signed on the dotted line, Hearn shrewdly sorted out a second deal with next in line Carlos Takam, just in case the Bulgarian was unable to compete.
This decision by Hearn ensured Joshua would be covered for his mandatory should the worst happen, which sadly for Pulev happened earlier this month and worsened to a head on Monday.
As Hearn explained, Takam was always the second choice and now gets his chance to challenge Joshua at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
“I received a call from Kalle Sauerland late afternoon to inform me that Pulev had injured his shoulder and maybe ruled out of the fight – this was later confirmed by his doctor,” stated Hearn.
“IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line which is Carlos Takam.
“When the Pulev fight was announced I made a deal with Takam’s team to begin camp and be on standby for this fight. When I called them this evening they were overjoyed and good to go.
“It’s a difficult position for AJ having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam – this hasn’t happened in his career before but he is ready for all comers on October 28,” he added.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay