Joe Joyce rumbled on as he stopped Carlos Takam in the sixth round at the SSE Arena, Wembley, using his strength and endurance to see off the 40-year-old Cameroonian.
The ending was controversial, because Takam, while rocked, did not seem badly hurt and clearly wanted to go on. Whether he could have lasted the round, let alone another six, looked debatable, though.
Joyce, 35, is something of a freak, He looks slow, ponderous, easy to hit, but he keeps coming forward and seems to be able to shrug off what any opponent hits him with. Takam hit him with some massive shots but couldn’t shift him. The higher he goes, though, the bigger then tend to hit.
He is set to be installed as the WBO’s No 1 contender in September, although he could face a two-year weight to get his mandatory shot unless the titles start becoming vacant. Every other top heavyweight will watch him and fancy their chances, but they will be in for a tough, tough physical battle.
Takam had far the better of the first round, judging by landing clean punches that is. He looped several bombs in that caught Joyce square on as he plodded forward. But Joyce kept chugging ahead and Takam looked like he had exerted more energy in the round.
Joyce was more active in the second, throwing more punches Takam seemed to feel the punches that landed. Late in the round, though, Takam landed with three big overhand hooks that Joyce took but just seemed to walk through.
The third round saw more of the same, Takam found huge holes in Takam’s defence and hammered hooks through, but Joyce kept coming forward and landed a right at the end of the round that seemed to stagger Takam.
Takam came back strong in the fourth round, almost looking like he was going for broke as he wound up big swinging hooks that crashed into Joyce’s head. Near the end of the round, he landed three punches that actually stopped Joyce’s forward momentum as he tried to move to a safe spot.
But there was less from Takam in the fifth, as he ducked low and Joyce worked away.
Early in the sixth round, Joyce landed a right that staggered Takam. Suddenly the Londoner leapt on on him pounding away with both hands. Takam initially tried to fight his way back but was caught and then looked to duck low and cover up. Steve Gray, the referee, then jumped in to stop the fight at 0:49 of the round. Takam was furious.
On the one hand, Takam was not throwing any punches back and Joyce was landing some shots. In the main, though, Takam was covering up, ducking low, buying time and showing his experience. What’s more, he had managed to avoid being trapped in a corner or on the ropes and there seemed a chance that Joyce, however strong he is, might punch himself out.
Still, little of that will matter to Joyce. What he lacks in skill and subtlety, he makes up for in endurance, fitness and strength.