Anthony Joshua’s first test post-Wladimir Klitschko sees him defending his IBF and WBA heavyweight title against Carlos Takam in a fight set to have nearly 80,000 people attend.
For those that recall, Joshua was supposed to fight his IBF mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev, but an injury forced Pulev to pull out of the fight with only weeks remaining. Promoter Eddie Hearn called the audible and asked Takam, who had been training for several weeks in case something happened to the fight.
Ideally, this isn’t the most exciting fight to follow up the fight of the year candidate Joshua had against Wladimir Klitschko, but it’s a necessary step to further assess Joshua’s progress. The world's eyes are set on Joshua to carry the heavyweight division, which has since seen a rise in relevance within the past couple of years.
Joshua is by far the bigger fighter, both figuratively and literally. He has a near five-inch height advantage and is a far stronger puncher than Takam. Any worries fans might have had about Joshua being able to box effectively late in fights at the start of the year were answered when he nearly went the distance against Klitschko. That experience will prove well against a boxer like Takam.
Takam isn’t just some random boxer Hearn found as a replacement. Takam is a quality heavyweight who went the distance against current WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker and has fought several other good heavyweight boxers. In order for Takam to find any success against Joshua, Takam must be the aggressor early on and close the distance between him and Joshua. Takam has to constantly attack Joshua’s body and use his smaller frame to get to Joshua’s body more effectively. That being said, that strategy, or any strategy for that matter, can’t guarantee you a win over Joshua or even give you a great chance of beating the young world heavyweight champion.
The rest of the card is full of solid matchups, especially if you’re a fan of British boxing. The co-main event is Kal Yafai defending his WBA junior bantamweight world title against Sho Ishida. Yafai is a heavy favorite, but is trying his hardest to not look past this fight with a potential clash against former world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Gonzalez was Yafai’s goal until Gonzalez lost his rematch against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last month on HBO.
Also on the card is Dillian Whyte fighting for the vacant WBC Silver heavyweight title. Whyte is a heavy favorite to win the title and set himself up for a rematch against Joshua. Whyte has to contend with Pulev and Wilder with being Joshua's next opponent, but Whyte fighting Joshua in a rematch would still be a major event in the United Kingdom.
The other two notable fights on the card are the WBA women's lightweight title bout between Anahi Esther Sanchez and Katie Taylor, plus the British light heavyweight title bout between Frank Buglioni and Craig Richards. Taylor is an Olympic standout who turned pro less than a year ago and already fighting for a world title. Buglioni, on the other hand, was supposed to be fighting for the Commonwealth title as well, but his opponent, Callum Johnson, had to withdraw from the fight earlier this week due to injury.
The U.K. broadcast will be on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view and will have most, if not all of the title fights. For U.S. boxing fans, Showtime will be broadcasting only the Joshua vs. Takam fight. The Showtime broadcast will start at 5 p.m. ET.
Here is the entire card from Cardiff, Wales. The card is not finalized. Fightful will have complete coverage of the main event.
- Anthony Joshua (c) vs. Carlos Takam: Unified WBA and IBF heavyweight title bout
- Kal Yafai (c) vs. Sho Ishida: WBA junior bantamweight title bout
- Anahi Esther Sanchez (c) vs. Katie Taylor: WBA women's lightweight title bout
- Dillian Whyte vs. Robert Helenius: Vacant WBC Silver heavyweight title bout
- Frank Buglioni (c) vs. Craig Richards: British light heavyweight title bout
- Joe Cordina vs. TBA
- Joshua Buatsi vs. Saidou Sall
- Lawrence Okolie vs. Adam Williams
- David Allen vs. Dorian Darch
Tale of the tape:
Record: 19-0 (19 KO)
Reach: 82 inches
Titles Won: IBF heavyweight, WBA heavyweight, IBO heavyweight, WBC International heavyweight, British heavyweight, Commonwealth heavyweight
Notable Fights: Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Eric Molina
Record: 35-3-1 (27 KO)
Reach: 80.5 inches
Titles Won: IBF Intercontinental heavyweight, WBC Silver heavyweight, WBF heavyweight, WBO Africa heavyweight, WBF International heavyweight
Notable Fights: Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Tony Thompson, Mike Perez
Prediction: Joshua via 10th round stoppage.