WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is on course for a routine night at the office when he goes in search of a 20th successive win against late stand-in Carlos Takam on Saturday.
‘AJ’ will put his titles on the line in his first fight since that now infamous April night when he dethroned previous heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko, stopping the Ukrainian in the 11th round on a red letter day for British boxing.
The Joshua bandwagon rolls in to Cardiff where 80,000 fans are expecting the Olympic champion to put on another show against Takam, who has taken the place of Kubrat Pulev at short notice.
The Bulgarian will miss his big night due to a shoulder injury, with Takam having been on standby just in case such a situation occurred.
Joshua admits he has had to alter his strategy for the change in opponent, with Takam smaller in stature than Pulev and described as more “durable” by the heavyweight champ.
The Brit says he has been working on body shots since finding out the switch of opponent, with Takam likely to try and cut the distance down as he is giving away a sizeable height advantage.
Joshua went as far as to suggest that this fight might go the distance which seems remarkable when you consider only three of his 19 opponents have survived more than three rounds.
Takam (35-3-1) may have only ever been stopped once during his career, by Alexander Povetkin, but he is unlikely to have faced someone with the power of Joshua.
No one has managed to hang with the 28-year-old. Klitschko gave it a good go and Joshua will have learnt from nearly losing that fight, but 20/1 shot Takam knows he needs a miracle.
Whether Takam will go down swinging remains to be seen but his 27 wins via knockout suggests he will not back down, meaning this fight is unlikely to go on for too long.
A loss is unthinkable and would arguably be the biggest shock in the heavyweight division since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Takam was not even supposed to be in this fight although he claims to have been training just in case.
How hard that training has been given he was the back-up, only his corner will know. He could have had his entire life to train for this fight and still come up short. This is only the beginning of Joshua’s reign over the heavyweight division.
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