The last trip to the United Kingdom was a memorable one for Carlos Takam.
A knockout win over Senad Gashi helped bring a two-fight losing streak to a halt, while also serving as the first of four consecutive victories that the 40-year-old heavyweight brings to the ring this weekend. It came in December 2018 at O2 Arena, the same site where he suffered a stunning eighth round stoppage to Derek Chisora just five months prior.
The win over Gashi was the third straight UK-based appearance for Takam (39-5-1, 28KOs), who returns overseas this weekend as he challenges unbeaten heavyweight contender Joe Joyce (12-0, 11KOs). The bout takes place Saturday at Wembley’s SSE Arena in London, with London’s Joyce perceived—on paper—to be the house favorite, but with Takam viewing the event as a homecoming.
“I’m not worried about traveling to his house because it’s not true,” Takam insisted to BoxingScene.com. “Joe Joyce will be fighting in front of my fans. I’ve had many fights in the UK already. I have more fans there than Joe Joyce. So really, I feel like he's fighting in my house.
“I can’t wait to fight again in front of all of my fans. It will be an excellent celebration for all my people. I’m going to feel that energy and it will lift me up to get the victory.”
The fight will be the first for Takam since a ten-round, unanimous decision win over Jerry Forrest last July in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas. Takam originally hails from Cameroon—whom he represented in the 2004 Olympics—but has since made his way to Vegas after spending much of his pro career fighting out of France.
Takam’s record outside of France and the U.S. is not spectacular. He is just 4-4-1 outside of those two nations, including a knockout loss to then-unbeaten Anthony Joshua as a late replacement in their October 2017 WBA/IBF/IBO heavyweight title fight in Cardiff, Wales.
Still, the well-preserved heavyweight is bursting with confidence even as a heavy underdog versus the 35-year-old Joyce, a Silver medalist for Great Britain during the 2016 Rio Olympics who is being groomed for a title shot in the near future. Takam would love nothing more than to upset that party and firmly believe that—in addition to his skillset—he will find the necessary support system to carry out that task.
“They ask me about fighting in his home (country). To me, I see it as being able to return to all of my UK fans,” notes Takam. “This is my opportunity to show all of my UK fans that I am back.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox