Joshua is scheduled to be back in action at Wembley, the venue for his historic 2017 victory over Wladimir Klitschko, in April.

In the last few months, Usyk – who will – has repeatedly expressed his interest in moving up to heavyweight and facing ‘AJ’.

Hearn is willing to grant the Ukrainian’s wish for a crack at Joshua, but he’ll have to test the waters at heavyweight before facing the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF and IBO champion.

“Basically if Usyk wins this fight, and probably if he loses this fight, he goes to heavyweight straight away. [Joshua is] the one they want,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“Joshua will only fight twice next year, so it will be the one after.

“It won’t be the first one, because I think Usyk will want to fight at heavyweight first. There are loads of fights out there for him.”

Joshua has been thoroughly impressed by what he’s seen of the undefeated Usyk and believes Bellew will have his work cut out for him this weekend.

“Usyk is really like a perfect boxer,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

“I hope Bellew is working on his counter punches as well, because that’s the way to knock him out I think.

“Let him tippy tap, and get in his rhythm, and then just kind of explode.

“As we’ve seen, Bellew can counter punch, and he’s got a dirty left hook on him. If he can land that, I think he’ll do well.”

Joshua’s next outing could very well be a multi-million unification bout against the winner of the WBC title bout between champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, who will face one another on December 1.

Joshua is keen to face Wilder – who has called him out on several occasions – but will turn his attention to a rematch with Dillian Whyte should negotiations to face ‘The Bronze Bomber fall through.

“Dillian, I want him to win because I want to box him again,” the WBO, WBA and IBF champion said. Come April 13, if Wilder doesn’t step up, they’re my two options.

“Good luck to Chisora, good luck to Whyte, they’re both relevant wins for me.”

Joshua scored a seventh-round knockout victory over Alexander Povetkin in his last outing, battling through adversity in the early rounds to retain his titles.