Tyson Fury has been stripped of his RING Magazine title after failing to schedule a comeback fight before January 31, but his loss will not prove to be Anthony Joshua's gain as things stand.
Fury has not stepped into the ring since defeating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, with issues with drugs and depression bringing the former world champion's sporting career to a complete standstill.
'The Gypsy King' has already given up the WBO, WBA and IBF belts he won against the legendary Ukrainian, who retired after being defeated by Joshua in April last year.
In a short statement on Thursday (1 February), THE RING confirmed that their illustrious title has been taken off Fury and is now up for grabs, but they were keen to point out that the belt will not be awarded to the winner of Joshua's upcoming fight with Joseph Parker due to their "unanimous" belief that Deontay Wilder is currently the No.2 heavyweight contender.
"THE RING heavyweight championship is now vacant," the boxing magazine said on their official website.
"We at THE RING would like to make it clear that this decision had not been taken lightly. THE RING championship belt is the closest representation to a lineal champion in the sport today, and Tyson Fury was extremely proud to be part of our heavyweight history.
"We deeply regret separating from the lineal championship and we would hope that fans appreciate our reasons for giving Tyson every opportunity over the past two years. We wish our former champion the very best for the future and we will be happy to re-rank him when appropriate."
Fury seems to be over the worst of his issues and has returned to training in recent months, but a proposed April comeback for boxing's most controversial figure is unlikely at this stage.
The 29-year-old has been working a new trainer in Ben Davison and has spoken of his desire to fight unified heavyweight champion Joshua when he returns to the ring, but the Watford-born fighter dismissed the chance of an all-British showdown earlier this month.