Joshua Faces Takam In Tricky Cardiff Showdown

British-born Nigerian Anthony Joshua returns to the ring at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales,  on Saturday night to defend his  IBF and WBA  titles against Carlos Takam.

The fight, which  will be broadcast in over 160 countries, has a reported £20m purse.

France-based Cameroonian  Takam, 36,   ranked No. 3 in the IBF rankings was  called in late to face   Joshua   after   Bulgarian  Kubrat Pulev pulled out with a shoulder injury.

Joshua  added  the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF title when he  knocked Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko  out in front of 90,000  fans  at Wembley Stadium on  April 29.

The 28-year-old, whose father comes from Sagamu in Ogun State,  has revealed his sights are fixed on  becoming  the first man to hold all four heavyweight world titles.

According to BBC Sport, a  win for Joshua  will fuel talk of unifying the titles with the WBC crown of Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker’s WBO version.

American Mike Tyson held three heavyweight titles in 1987, before the formation of the WBO.

“I can’t be perfect. I am who I am,” Joshua told Sky Sports News on Friday.

“I have managed to become heavyweight champion of the world and who I am, I can present myself as the person I am today, with a project and vision of improving myself for the future.

“Providing I stay disciplined in my sport, you’ll hear of me for the next 10 years, and I’ll definitely progress as a person, and that’s what it’s about.

“This isn’t who I am today. I may make a mistake, but I’ll correct it in the future, and that’s what being a champion is about. If life was perfect and simple, people wouldn’t be able to relate to me.”

Joshua has revealed he would love to stop Takam, who has three lost three of his 39 fights since his first pro fight on December 10, 2005,  inside 30 seconds in their fight on Saturday.

“I want it to go thirty seconds, do you know what I mean?’  he told  Fight Hub TV.

“But it’s not reality, I’m prepared for a twelve round fight, but if I could I’d like to get him out between  round one to eight.”

However, Takam says he  will go all guns blazing into  the ring, warning his opponent not to take him for granted.

He said, “I am better known in France and Cameroon. But by the third or fourth round the people in the crowd here will know me and like me.

“It will be just as important to work Joshua’s body as well as the head, and my speed will be important too. “If I can do things differently from what other boxers have done against him, I’ll have a chance to win by knockout.”

And former British heavyweight champion Michael Sprott – who has fought both men – has warned Joshua not to underestimate Takam,  claiming  the Cameroonian  would  be a dangerous opponent the longer the fight is allowed to go on.

“Takam is like a bodybuilder,” Sprott told BBC Newsbeat.

“(He’s) very strong, and like Anthony says he’s got a head like granite. He can definitely take a shot.

“If I was his (Joshua’s) trainer I would tell him to get rid of Takam as quickly as possible, maybe as early as the first couple of rounds.

“The longer the fight goes on the more dangerous it is for Anthony Joshua.”

Meanwhile,  Joshua hopes his long held dream to fight in Africa will move a step closer with  Saturday’s fight.

Joshua – who weighed in at a career-heaviest 114.3kg compared to Takam’s 16st 11lb – has his eyes set on Nigeria.

“It’s definitely a blessing in disguise,”  the fighter, who  could earn up to £15m tonight, was quoted by AFP as saying on Friday.

“There’s massive interest. Takam’s good, he’s from Cameroon; it’s Africa, people are watching for sure.

“It doesn’t have to be an African fighter to fight there; it definitely has to be a champion though. We have to know who they are, and providing there’s no politics, anything’s possible right now.”

The 2012 Olympic champion said that his weight reflected how fit he felt.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running: maybe I’m starting to fill out as I get older, so who knows what it is? I definitely feel a lot fitter,” said Joshua.

Takam, who followed Joshua back to his hotel after a previous bout in 2016 and said he wanted to fight him there and then, said he was in good shape and not just turning up for a large cheque.

“When I heard the news about the fight I was already preparing,” said the 36-year-old.

British-born Nigerian Lawrence Okolie will look to continue his victory march in Cardiff on Saturday.

The cruiserweight boxer will fight on the undercard of the Joshua versus Takam bout.

 

-Culled from the Punch

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Categories: sport

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