WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is now without any mandatory obligations, after Alexander Povetkin knocked out Dillian Whyte on Saturday night at Matchroom's Fight Camp.
Whyte, who held the mandatory position, was well ahead in the fight when a single uppercut knocked him out cold in the fifth round.
Pursuant to a mandatory order from the WBC, Whyte's mandatory shot was due by February of 2021.
Had Whyte been victorious, he would have been a big stumbling block in finalizing a potential 2021 unification between Fury and IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO champion Anthony Joshua.
Provided Fury defeats Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight, and Joshua overcomes mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, the stage will be set for a major unification showdown next year.
"Eddie Hearn was trying to protect Joshua, trying to put a hurdle in the way with Whyte. The biggest fight out there now is me and Joshua, so let's make it happen," Fury told BT Sport Boxing.
"Stop running away, stop making excuses, put your nuts in your handbag and let's fight."
As far as Whyte, he has a rematch clause and is now heading in the direction of a second fight with Povetkin - which is being targeted for the month of December. Taking the ongoing coronavirus pandemic into account, it won't be surprising if the second fight is pushed to a date in early 2021.
"We have a rematch clause. The first thing Dillian said when he came out was 'Get me that rematch, get me that rematch'. We have a rematch clause. We will look to make that at the end of the year. It's a huge fight. It's a very dangerous fight, obviously back to back defeats for Dillian Whyte throws a different shade on it," Hearn said.