Anyone who has watched Anthony Joshua’s meteoric rise from Olympic hopeful to heavyweight champion of the world will probably scoff at the thought of a stand-in even challenging the mighty Englishman, but the truth is, Carlos Takam poses more of a threat than Kubrat Pulev ever did.
Bulgarian bruiser Pulev, the top-ranked challenger in the IBF rankings, pulled out of his chance to win Joshua’s world titles due to a pectoral muscle tear sustained late in training, meaning that the IBF summoned the next highest in their rankings: Carlos Takam.
Pulev is a very face-on type of fighter with heavy hands, he’ll move toward his opponent if allowed to, trying to place jabs before unleashing booming crosses; but his defence is very lacklustre. Pulev can take a hard punch, and another one, and another one after that, but eventually it becomes too much. Carlos Takam is different; he has slick feet, fast hands, punches in volume, and can bring decent defence when fighting up-close. Like Pulev, he’s proven to be rather difficult to knock out, but has been sent to the canvas when against the elite-level fighters.
Source: Boxing Scene, via Twitter
With a storied career of 35 wins (27 by way of knockout), three losses, and a draw, Takam has never been able to take that next step up to accompany the likes of Joshua at that prestigious plateau of elite heavyweight boxers.
He lost to Joseph Parker – before the New Zealander won his WBO world title – by unanimous decision despite fighting on the front foot and forcing his game plan for the majority of the match. Against Alexander Povetkin, Takam fought with heart and up close, pushing his agenda and sometimes flustering the mighty Russian but, in the end, too few of Takam’s hits rocked Povetkin enough to prevent the inevitable knockout of the Cameroon-born Frenchman.
This difference in class is why Anthony Joshua is so heavily favoured by the bookies despite the new, very different fighter coming in at such late notice and arguably being better prepared for this specific match-up than the defending champion. In the latest boxing odds, Joshua is favoured to win in the second or third round (both at 4/1), but the man himself says that he reckons it’ll end in the tenth, 11th, or 12th round – given odds of 45/1, 35/1, and 45/1, respectively.
When asked to predict which round the fight will end in, Joshua cited how hard it is to knockout Takam: “I think we’re going for a ten to 12 round fight because this guy’s head is like a block of cement.”
Source: Sporting News Canada, via Twitter
While very humble of him to say so, Anthony Joshua simply has too much power locked and loaded behind his incredible technical skill for this fight to trouble him properly. Carlos Takam is a very brave boxer who won’t go down without having his say, but it doesn’t seem likely that his say will be enough to cause Joshua any serious problems.
Look for Joshua to have a couple of rounds of feeling out Takam, laying down his thunderous jab to keep him at bay until he finds an opening and pounces, going body-head-head to force the challenger to the canvas. Takam needs to be elusive but also make sure that he’s not pushed around the ring by the bigger fighter. He also can’t afford to go gung-ho against Joshua as he’ll simply be left exposed and then defeated.
28th October at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff looks to be an incredible night of boxing with Joshua trying to defend his titles against this new foe, also featuring a stacked undercard of current and future British world champions.