Joe Joyce’s fight against Carlos Takam isn’t simply something to keep the big British heavyweight busy while he awaits his WBO title shot.
Joyce’s promoter considers it a very risky endeavor for his undefeated contender because, despite Takam’s age, he could cost Joyce the biggest payday of the London native’s career. The 35-year-old Joyce must defeat France’s Takam on Saturday night to assume the top spot in the WBO’s heavyweight rankings once its current mandatory challenger, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, gets his overdue shot at IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua on September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The 40-year-old Takam (39-5-1, 28 KOs) has been beaten by knockout or technical knockout three times, yet Warren recognizes that their 12-round main event at Wembley Arena in London won’t amount to easy work for Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs).
“You look at the old adage, you know, styles make fights,” Warren said during a press conference Thursday. “And Carlos Takam, you know, the British fans know who he is. He’s had, what is it now, it’s 45 fights and he’s had 28 knockouts. And Joe’s had 12 fights as a pro, stopped 11 of ‘em. So, when you look at professional experience, Carlos has far, far more experience than Joe has. Having said that, Joe is now in the number one spot, after this fight takes place between AJ and Usyk. And he can’t afford to slip up. You know, he’s got it there. He’s got to the position that we all were trying and working very hard to get him to. And now everything’s on the line on Saturday. This is like a world title fight for him because he cannot make a mistake.”
Warren wants Joyce to not only beat Takam, but to make another emphatic statement against a veteran heavyweight who has won four straight fights since Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and Dereck Chisora (32-11, 23 KOs) stopped him in back-to-back bouts in 2017 and 2018. Joyce will fight for the first time since his career-changing 10th-round knockout of domestic rival Daniel Dubois (16-1, 15 KOs) on November 28 at Church House in London.
“You look at Joe – he’s done everything as a pro that he’s been asked,” Warren said. “He’s done a fantastic amateur career, but robbed for the gold medal, should’ve had that [at the 2016 Summer Olympics]. But he’s had a fantastic amateur career. He’s certainly caught on as a heavyweight now. And he’s on the cusp of doing something really good, so I’m looking for him on Saturday to make a statement, to put a performance in there, and come out of there that everybody says, ‘Hang on a minute. This fella can win a world title. He can do it.’ ”
Joyce-Takam will headline a BT Sport 1 telecast in the United Kingdom and Ireland and a fite.tv pay-per-view show elsewhere ($12.99 in the United States). Their ring walks are expected to start some time between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. BST in the UK and Ireland, and 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. in the U.S.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.