Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam

Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KO’s) is the Cameroonian-French opponent due to tackle Londoner Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19KO’s) for his IBF, IBO and WBA Super world heavyweight titles this Saturday in Cardiff.

The 36-year-old was next in line with the International Boxing Federation after Kubrat Pulev’s withdrawal due to injury.

As Pulev was a mandatory defence, the IBF rules state the champion must fight the next available challenger in their rankings, should the #1 become incapacitated.

Eddie Hearn ensured Takam and his team were already on standby for this situation, so his heavyweight charge can still fulfil his IBF mandatory obligations – smart move.

Tough blow for Pulev, dream opportunity for substitute Takam.

So, who is Carlos Takam?

The man from Saint-Denis is the current IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight titleholder. He won the vacant strap with a fourth-round KO over Marcin Rekowski in January.

He followed that win up with a second-round KO of Italian Ivica Bacurin in June.

Prior to that, in May 2016, he took a young Joseph Parker the distance in an IBF eliminator, just a few months before the Kiwi went on to win the vacant WBO heavyweight world title in the same year.

Takam pressed the New Zealander for the full 12-rounds and Parker looked tired – although fully in control – under the constant pressure from the Frenchman. As such, the scores were close with two judges ruling 116-112 for their national hero and the third settling at 115-113.

He has a habit of travelling abroad and upsetting the odds; he pushed a future world champion to his limits in what was a coming-of-age fight for Parker; he took a then-unbeaten Mike Perez to a draw in Montreal; and he’s won three of his last four fights – all on foreign soil.

So, there’s a few things right there that you may not have known about AJ’s next victim. But that last word is all that you really need to know because that’s what he will be – another felled foe added to the mounting heap.

Takam is a credible opponent despite some of the arguments voiced about Matchroom’s no-refunds policy on social media and questions over the fight being PPV-worthy.

Joshua alone is a PPV fighter and everyone will pay the money to watch him dismantle and destroy another opponent, regardless of who that is.

Carlos has respectable power and a very decent engine for a big guy, it’s just a shame he won’t be able to utilise it on the nigh as I can’t see this fight lasting long enough for that.

One thing I would say is that, although a stand-in opponent, Takam would have been training hard for this fight for some time already, having been placed on standby.

He also has the added benefit of being the first opponent to face Joshua after witnessing chinks in the armour when he was floored by Klitschko in his last bout.

He and his team would have studied that Wembley super-fight meticulously and will be coming to the biggest fight of his life with a solid game-plan.

However, Joshua will land straight down the middle on Takam if he loads up on his swinging left and right hands like he so often does. He kept it up against Parker for 36-minutes, but the New Zealander made most miss and the weight of the shots that did land just didn’t affect him; he kept his hands low right up to the end bell.

When he loads up on those wild hooks and straights, he is wide open, so AJ just will not fail to land that blurring right hand straight down the middle, right from the off.

No disrespect to Takam but I can see AJ scoring a first-round KO, and if he can make it to the second-round, then I’ll be very, very surprised. Third-round would be his absolute limit.

But, it will be pointless if he gets even that far because he will be on borrowed time in that ring with such a young, hungry, powerful world champion that has 19 knockouts from 19 fights – 16 of those came within the first three rounds…you can do the math.

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