By Ian S Palmer
There should be about 80,000 fans at thew Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales this Saturday, October 28th when England’s unbeaten Anthony Joshua defends his IBF and IBO Heavyweight Titles against Carlos Takam of Cameroon as well as his WBA Super World Heavyweight Crown. Takam is a late replacement for Kubrat Pulev who had to pull out due to injury. Fans in the U.S. can catch the action live on Showtime while those in the UK can view it on Sky Box Office. Joshua’s last fight was his classic 11th-round TKO over Wladimir Klitschko in April while Takam stopped Ivica Bacurin in the second round in June.
The 28-year-old Joshua is a former Olympic gold medalist who won the title in just his16th pro bout. He enters the fight with a perfect record of 19-0 with a 100 per cent knockout ratio with 19 stoppages. He ended his first 14 bouts and 16 of his 19 fights within the first three rounds. Joshua won the British title against Dillian Whyte in December of 2015 after winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games at home in London. It’s safe to say he has better than average power, but his chin is still a major question mark. Klitschko had him in the sixth round and apparently out, but Joshua got up to win.
Joshua turned pro back in 2013 and has 55 rounds under his belt since. He’s a good-sized heavyweight by today’s standards as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall and has a reach of 82 inches. Joshua’s most well-known opponents so far have been Klitschko, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Whyte, Kevin Johnson, Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott. He won the IBF title by stopping Charles Martin in the second round in April of 2016 and added his other titles with the impressive and exciting win over Klitschko.
Joshua is arguably a bit too muscle bound, but seems to possess pretty good boxing skills even if he is a bit robotic. The champ has decent mobility and upper body movement as well as a stiff jab. Joshua may try to stay away from a slugfest for the first few rounds by trying to box Takam and gauge his opponent’s power. He’ll try using his jab and nailing his opponent whenever he sees an opening and will definitely go after Takam if he feels he’s hurt him.
The 36-year-old Takam, who fights out of France, has an impressive record of 35-3-1 along with 27 Kos. He turned pro in 2005 and has fought 184 rounds since then. He’s lost to Alexander Povetkin by 10th-round Ko in 2014, dropped an eight-round unanimous decision to Gregory Tony in 2009 and lost a close 12-round unanimous decision to Joseph Parker in may of 2016 His draw was a 10-round majority decision against Mike Perez in 2014.
Takam has beaten the likes of Marcelo Luiz Nascimento, Franz Botha, Michael Sprott, Tony Thompson and Michael Grant. He’s four and a half inches shorter than Joshua at just over 6-foot-1-inch and he also has a 1.5-inch reach disadvantage at 80.5 inches. He also has good power though with a current knockout ratio of 69 per cent. Takam keeps busy each round and throws a lot of punches. He’ll try to outwork and pressure Joshua on Saturday and that’s his best course of action.
Takam definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly as he’s got good skills and power. Joshua does as well of course, but he still has a susceptible chin. Takam’s chin has let him down once as he was stopped by Povetkin, but if he can take Joshua’s best shots then this could be a very interesting fight. This contest should provide some excitement and fireworks as anything can happen when Joshua enters the ring. No outcome will surprise me here, but I’m expecting Joshua to keep his belts.