Anthony Joshua is already mulling over dropping one of his world title belts within weeks of regaining them from Andy Ruiz Jr.
AJ defeated Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia with a jab and move performance which the overweight Ruiz had no answer for.
Once again holding four world titles and highly rated in the betting guide and on this site, Joshua has lost his previously solid aura and is since considered the third best heavyweight on the planet.
Despite this, options have opened up for a future mega-fight with the winner of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury on February 22. The only problem is two mandatories are in the way.
Joshua has no qualms taking on one of those in a homecoming fight this spring, but may have to lobby the IBF or WBO for an exception to avoid a second immediately.
With both sanctioning bodies handing down deadlines, this could become an impossible task. Joshua wants to entice Wilder or Fury for later summer, meaning two stipulations either side would take over a year to complete.
The outcome? – Joshua would be best-served dropping the IBF or WBO strap. This is something already acknowledged by Joshua to the media.
So, which belt goes? – It looks as though Joshua has chosen to pass the WBO belt to the next man in line. Who is that man? – None other than stablemate Oleksandr Usyk.
But why has Joshua chosen Usyk? – For the simple fact it keeps one version of the top division crown in the Matchroom stable.
Rather than lobbying the WBO for an exemption from the mandatory until later this year, potentially delaying Wilder or Fury until 2021, Joshua and promoter obviously see the logic in handing Usyk his chance now.
The Ukrainian could then face an in-house Matchroom contender. This would be either Derek Chisora or Joseph Parker – for the available championship. Another plus.
Whatever happens with Joshua, for example – should he lose to Wilder or Fury, Hearn clings on to at least one title moving forward.
In a history-making back-up, Joshua vs Usyk then gives the Briton the chance to become a three-time champ.
On the flipside, Joshua defeating Wilder or Fury to add the WBC version gives Matchroom all the aces in an undisputed unification. Quite a genius move.
Fans can expect swift movement on this should the WBO approve Parker or Chisora for Usyk, with a vacant title UK PPV on the cards for DAZN before the summer.