Unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua will defend his belts on Saturday against Carlos Takam at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The 28-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KO’s), a 2012 London Olympic gold medalist, returns to the ring for the first time since April when he stopped former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of one of the greatest heavyweight title fights in recent memory.
Takam (35-3-1, 27 KO’s), 36, of France, is coming off a second-round knockout of Croatian journeyman Ivica Bacurin in June, his second straight win since losing a competitive unanimous decision to Joseph Parker, who went on to win the WBO heavyweight world title, in May 2016.
Takam, who represented Cameroon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is going to come to fight. Whether that amounts to much – if anything – all depends on how successful he is at attacking the body in the early rounds. Although he got knocked out by Alexander Povetkin in 2014, he gave the Russian a tough fight, and even managed to hurt him a few times.
However, his body attack was pedestrian, and it left him open for colossal right hands and uppercuts on the inside.
Standing at 6’1 ½” with an 80 ½” reach, Takam doesn’t have much of a choice against Joshua, who stands at 6’6”, with an 82” reach. He must press the fight, but it comes with the risk of getting smashed.
Joshua has power in both hands, but the force behind his right stands out. It was the right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for all-time great Klitschko, along with fringe contenders Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina. How much can Takam take? Let’s take it round-by-round.
Takam comes out with a head of steam and charges forward, staying low and connecting with a couple of body shots, but Joshua steps back and fires a right hand down the pipe. Takam is hurt and takes some heavy leather, but survives the round.
Winner: Joshua 10-9
Big right hand and Takam crashes to the canvas reminiscent of the way he went down against Povetkin, staring at the ceiling. It’s a massive KO for Joshua.
Winner: Anthony Joshua by second-round KO