What most would have considered a front row seat to history was little more than a vantage point for Anthony Joshua.

On Saturday night, the two-time unified heavyweight champion sat at ringside and paid close attention as his former opponent, Oleksandr Usyk, outfought Tyson Fury down the stretch to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in a quarter of a century. 

After making a quick start, Usyk appeared to be struggling with a flowing Fury’s size and variety before dramatically hurting and flooring the Gypsy King to change the tide of the whole contest.

After sharing 24 rounds with the brilliant Ukrainian, two-time unified champion, Joshua, undoubtedly recognised Usyk’s lung bursting, late effort and felt that his second half effort carried him to a deserved victory.

“He had Usyk winning quite convincingly,” Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn told Matchroom Boxing. “I went over after and said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Usyk’s won. Great fight but Usyk’s a comfortable winner.’ I think most people felt Usyk won, it’s just how wide they saw the cards.”

It seems an inevitability that the IBF will announce that Usyk must take a break from his post fight celebrations and decide whether he will defend his IBF title against their mandatory challenger, Filip Hrgovic, or vacate the belt and bring to an end a glorious but short reign as the undisputed champion. 

Contractual and financial considerations make it all but certain that Usyk will relinquish the title and face Fury in a rematch later this year, leaving Hrgovic and Daniel Dubois free to contest the vacant strap on June 1st.

Rumours abound that Joshua is already being lined up to take on the winner of the Hrgovic-Dubois fight later this summer.  

Regardless of what happens to the IBF title over the next four months, Usyk will remain ‘The Man’ but if Joshua can regain the belt he first won by knocking out Charles Martin back in 2016, he would put himself in prime position for a fight with the winner of the Usyk-Fury rematch.

The other sanctioning bodies all have their own mandatory challengers to consider but having seen just how well received the Usyk-Fury fight was, the prospect of a money spinning undisputed trilogy fight between Usyk and Joshua or a Battle of Britain between Fury and ‘AJ’ might just convince them to push to the matter to bottom of their agendas for a little while longer. 

“He’s ready to fight anybody. He’d love to fight Usyk again. He’d love to fight Tyson Fury. He’s happy to fight Hrgovic. He’s happy to fight Dubois. Happy to fight Parker, Wilder. Any of them,” Hearn said.

“You’ve not got a problem with Anthony Joshua. Anybody who wants it can get it but at the same time he wants to regain his heavyweight championship.”