World Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF title for the third time against Frenchman Carlos Takam in a 12-round bout at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Mandatory Defense

AJ is coming off a dramatic (Wlad’s brother Vitali says AJ was lucky) 11th round knockout win over the legendary Wladimir Klitschko last April 29, 2017, where he literally had to pick himself up from the canvass in Round 6 to win that Fight of The Year candidate. A rematch was supposed to take place but with Wlad opting to retire, Joshua decided to make a mandatory defense of his IBF belt.

Joshua was penciled to fight #1 contender Kubrat Pulev but the Bulgarian brawler suffered a shoulder injury which forced him to pull out of the bout with two weeks to go. Fortunately. Promoter Eddie Hearn had a standby opponent in IBF #3 Carlos Takam, who officially became Joshua’s official opponent on October 28th.

A win by Anthony Joshua would also almost certainly earn him the prestigious British SPOTY award. According to Alan Alger of Betway Insider, AJ’s chances of winning the SPOTY are high due to 2017 not being an Olympic year (12 of the last 16 winners of the award were Olympians ). Bagging that award would cement Joshua’s billing as the top prize fighter in England today, the British winners in the current World Boxing Super Series – Super Middleweight Division notwithstanding. Otherwise, AJ merely gets to keep the belts he already owns so he’s taking a lot of risk in taking on Takam.

Takam’s Chances

Carlos Takam is no Kubrat Pulev by any means. However, he poses a different kind of challenge for Anthony Joshua. At 6-1, he is significantly shorter than Pulev and is the shortest opponent Joshua has faced since Denis Bakhtov in 2014. He is also powerfully built and durable, making him a more difficult opponent to knock out than Pulev.

However, given that Takam is nearing 37 years of age, his body could betray him. The Frenchman may no longer have the stamina to keep up with a younger, faster and smarter opponent like Anthony Joshua. If he has any shot at pulling off a victory, it would have to come at the early stages of the fight.

Takam cannot start slow, he needs to dictate the pace early and land his powerful haymakers from the get-go. No question, he has the punching power to hurt even an Anthony Joshua. But given his advanced age, he may not be able to mount a sustained offensive attack for a full 12 rounds.

The Total Package

Beating Anthony Joshua is easier said than done. This man has shown very little weaknesses since turning pro in 2013 and has knocked out every opponent he has faced so far. He has otherworldly punching power, very fast hands, extremely quick feet and a very high boxing IQ. Anthony Joshua is the total package and is considered as the top heavyweight in the business.


AJ has ended 18 of 19 bouts in seven rounds or fewer but he showed against Klitschko that he has the endurance to remain effective in the championship rounds if needed. AJ also has the edge in height and length. In addition, he is the the younger fighter here, eight years the junior of Takam.

The concern here for AJ’s team is how prepared he is to fight Takam ( if that is a concern at all ). Remember that Pulev pulled out of the fight on October 16th, leaving Joshua with barely two weeks to adjust his game plan. Takam meanwhile, knew all along that he would be fighting Joshua in case something goes wrong. Whether this is an advantage though, remains to be seen.

Prediction

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, expect Carlos Takam to come out with guns blazing when that opening bell rings. Remember that this is the heavyweight division and all it takes is just one punch to alter the course of history. Again, that’s easier said than done, especially against a stud like Anthony Joshua.

AJ won’t necessarily go for the early knockout although he certainly has the punching power to do so. Takam will be going for broke and it’s always dangerous to fight that fire with your own fire. The longer this fight goes, the more it is to Anthony Joshua’s advantage.

The oddsmakers and experts are giving Takam the slimmest of chances to beat AJ. Joshua’s speed and movement will make Takam tire faster and if Joshua can withstand Takam’s early fury, this bout’s going to be his for the picking. Carlos Takam is tough and durable but Anthony Joshua is going to win this fight by knockout, most probably in the middle rounds.

Main image credit:

Liquid Sports Media

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