It was a late call-up which handed Anthony Joshua his opportunity to become World Heavyweight Champion last year. Now he faces a similar challenge when he defends his WBA ‘Super’ and IBF Heavyweight titles against Carlos Takam, who has replaced the injured Kubrat Pulev as the next opponent for Anthony in Cardiff on Saturday, October 28th.
With 70,000 tickets already sold at the Principality Stadium, Anthony’s promoter Eddie Hearn was forced to finalise a late deal with Takam – who was already on standby for the fight – when mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev pulled out on Monday with an upper-arm injury. The change of opponent has dramatically altered Anthony’s preparations and it is likely that he will have to be involved in more ‘heavy-duty ringwork’ right up until next week.
The French-Cameroonian and former Olympian Takam has an impressive record of 35 wins from his 39 bouts, with only one stoppage loss against Alexander Povetkin, and a points defeat to WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker in New Zealand last year. Although like Pulev he will start as an underdog, Takam still represents a considerably strong threat to anyone in the heavyweight division.
Anthony now must prepare for a fight with a 6ft1 fighter who likes to work inside and swing big punches up close and even over the top. Takam is not only considerably shorter than Joshua, perhaps as much as six inches, but he excels as the short man in a division of considerable giants. The smaller Frenchman has had plenty of practice during his career in fights against a lot of men six, seven or even eight inches taller. But it is something that Anthony will be wary of as Takam has challenged him to a fight before.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Anthony revealed that he was once ambushed by Takam in a hotel lobby shortly after his first successful defence of his IBF crown against Dominic Breazeale in 2016. “After I fought at the O2 against Breazeale, Takam waited at my hotel in reception and said to me, ‘I want to fight you!’, Anthony said.
“He came to the fight, then waited for me in reception. I knew who he was. He’s a big unit, 22 stone, and I think he will be harder to knock out because he’s incredibly durable.”
However, the brief encounter will do little to distract Anthony’s preparations for his fourth consecutive defence. “Takam has fought some good people, but maybe because he’s not so active on social media, the general public might not know much about him. He’s a credible opponent and we can’t take our eye off the prize,” he added.
“He is not going to come in and lie down in the first round. I think that’s the mindset of anyone who fights me because he is in hostile territory with a lot of people who are not there to support him so he will think, ‘what have I got to lose’? This is his golden ticket to shock the world.”
Stay locked into AnthonyJoshua.com for all the latest news and information ahead of the World Heavyweight title showdown on Saturday 28th October at The Principality Stadium, Cardiff.