By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua isn’t sure if Carlos Takam will provide a more difficult fight Saturday night than the man he replaced.
It depends upon your perspective, according to the unbeaten British superstar. Joshua considers Takam tougher than Pulev, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the contender from Cameroon will be harder to beat than Bulgaria’s Pulev would’ve been.
“I think he is tougher,” Joshua said regarding Takam during a recent conference call. “He can take more. But I don’t think he’s smarter for that reason. You know where I’m coming from? So it’s what do we call tougher? Is it the smarter fighter that’s gonna make me think more? Or is it the guy who’s gonna make me work? That’s what’s gonna be interesting. But I think I’ll definitely fight Pulev in the future.”
Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) replaced Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) as Joshua’s upcoming opponent a week ago after Pulev pulled out of the fight due to a shoulder injury.
The 36-year-old Takam was the IBF’s leading available contender for this mandatory matchup. Takam is ranked No. 3 among the IBF’s heavyweight contenders, one spot beneath Pulev.
He’ll challenge the 28-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA champion, before a crowd expected to exceed 75,000 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Their fight will be broadcast by Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom (£19.95) and Showtime in the United States.
Takam has been knocked out only once in his 11-year pro career, in the 10th round by former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs) in October 2014. Thus the 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua knows it won’t be easy to keep his perfect knockout record intact against the 6-feet-1½, 240-pound Takam.
“To have his kind of style, not many people have long careers,” Joshua said. “But he’s got this style like he just eats up a little bit of ground, you know, a little bit of ground each round. So you can be out here boxing, bam, jab, right hand to the head, left hook, right hook, you’re looking good. And all of a sudden you realize that everything you was doing wasn’t working because this person is still coming, still coming. So I think around rounds six, seven, eight, he starts applying pressure because he’s got that kind of, ‘I’m gonna absorb everything you do and then measure everything you do. And then I’m gonna give you what I’m capable of doing.’ Which is always a dangerous style.
“And the thing is that, you know, as I’ve said, going back from Breazeale, Molina, Klitschko, preparing for Pulev, I’ve concentrated on a lot of taller fighters. Now I’ve got this – he’s 6-foot-2, but he probably fights at 6-foot. He bends down, he’s crouched over. But as I’ve said, I can talk a million things I understand about Takam, but all in all, what goes down in the history books is if I win or lose, right? So I’ve just got to do whatever I’ve got to do to get this win, because it’s really important for me and the state of boxing because it sets up several fights in the future.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.