London : Anthony Joshua should heed the warning signs after Carlos Takam was handed a late opportunity to snatch his heavyweight world titles.
The WBA ‘super’ and IBF champion has endured a turbulent training camp leading up to his next title defence, with Kubrat Pulev pulling out through injury less than a fortnight before the first bell was set to ring at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on October 28.
Joshua had been thinking of a lucrative rematch with Wladimir Klitschko in Las Vegas when he first returned to the gym a few months ago, but the Ukrainian opted for retirement instead of a repeat of their punishing encounter and Pulev was next in line for a shot at the titles.
At their first press conference, a translator had suggested that Pulev found the fight ‘terrifying’, a misunderstanding perhaps, but the Bulgarian’s body failed him, even if his mind was sound and in stepped Takam last night.
The France-based Cameroonian cuts a formidable figure, with a muscle-bound physique and steely glare, leaving opponents in no doubt that they must ready themselves for a demanding fight.
Current WBO champion Joseph Parker can supply a character reference of Takam’s toughness after they shared 12 brutal rounds before the relieved New Zealander emerged with a points victory.
“What a great fighter Carlos Takam is,” said Parker after his chin and stamina had been tested. “We said this was going to be a hard fight. I had to have my A-game.
“That was a tough, exciting fight.”
Joshua has broken the resistance of all 19 of his previous opponents, although he could require a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer to gradually prise open Takam’s tight guard.