A bittersweet knockout of Dillian Whyte on Saturday night had a slight effect on the future of Tyson Fury, who now has no immediate mandatory plans after Deontay Wilder.
Fury can pick and choose a voluntary defense of his green and gold belt, provided he gets through Wilder in their trilogy meeting.
That third fight is scheduled to take place between December 2020 and February 2021.
But Whyte removal as the number one contender for Fury’s title will have no real impact on Anthony Joshua’s two-fight stipulated blueprint.
Joshua already has his next fight double lined up with mandatories against Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk happening next. Both bouts have been ordered by their respective bodies.
So there was some surprise when Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn made a post-Alexander Povetkin loss statement on the situation.
Discussing the current climate from his perspective, Hearn said: “One of the stumbling blocks was that early in 2021 the mandatory defense against Dillian Whyte.
“Alexander Povetkin won’t be called as that immediate mandatory even though he sits at number one position. So, yes, that frees up Tyson Fury to fight Anthony Joshua after the Deontay Wilder fight.
“For me, I wanted Dillian Whyte to get that opportunity. I thought a good win tonight would secure that.
“I thought he deserved that but he did lose. Now he needs to rematch and try to beat Alexander Povetkin.”
Hearn believes Fury vs Joshua is now a step closer. This may be the case in some respect. But only once AJ has fought both Pulev and Usyk.
It still leaves Fury vs Joshua with a window at the end of 2021 and no earlier. That’s unless Joshua wants to drop the WBO belt for the Fury fight.
This would end any hopes of either becoming undisputed. There’s also Deontay Wilder for Fury to contend with, the dangerous Pulev for AJ.
The most likely scenario is trying to work out a deal with Usyk and the WBO to delay the mandatory. It’s the only way Fury vs Joshua happens in the summer.
But maybe all concerned should leave the fight to stew. Hold off and wait for the pandemic conditions to allow a fully-packed 90,000 into Wembley Stadium.