By Elliot Foster
Anthony Joshua was forced to overcome pain and suspected injury to retain his world heavyweight titles.
The Finchley puncher kept hold of his WBA Super, IBO and IBF crowns with a 10th round stoppage of Carlos Takam, who took the fight on just 12 days’ notice, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Joshua suffered a potential broken nose in just the second round, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office, and was forced to fight through pain and hurt before the referee Phil Edwards had seen enough and called a halt to proceedings after a minute and 34 seconds of the round.
Takam, who is a proud citizen of France, was cut by right eye in round four and complained. There was blood pouring from the eye and he was in severe discomfort.
He was floored in that round but saw it through, to his credit.
Tony Bellew, who was ringside for Sky Sports, was telling Joshua –– who had to deal with the doctor looking at Takam’s eyes on several occasions after he was cut to the left eye too –– to keep the pressure on his foe.
The pressure continued throughout and the end came in the 10th.
“It was a good fight until the ref stopped it,” said Joshua, “and I have the upmost respect for Takam.
“I have no interest for what’s going on with the officials. My job is to focus on the opponent.
“I don’t have control over the ref’s decision.”
He continued: “It feels like my nose is broken. Imagine if it’s broke and I couldn’t breath and he started catching up in the middle rounds?
“It would have been a disaster, so I kept my cool. You have to control these situations because, if I showed any signs of weakness, the ref could have jumped in.
"Now there are belts on the line, there are obligations as champ."