Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua Set to Return to the Ring
Ready to defend his heavyweight title, boxer Anthony Joshua looks to retain his unbeaten record this Saturday.
Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 • 3:28 PM ET
Anthony Joshua looks to retain his heavyweight title this weekend.
Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua will make his anticipated return to the ring this Saturday in Cardiff, Wales.
Joshua was originally scheduled to face Kubrat Pulev, but the Bulgarian was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a shoulder injury less than two weeks before the bout. In Pulev’s place, Cameroonian-French fighter Carlos Takam, the IBF’s No. 3 ranked heavyweight, will step in as his replacement this weekend. Joshua and Takam will fight in Principality Stadium, which has a capacity of 74,500, but the event could exceed that number.
For Joshua, whose IBF, WBA (Super) and IBO titles will be at stake, the fight is a chance to show that he can adapt to a different style on short notice. The former Olympic gold medalist is undefeated as a professional (19-0-0), but the fight against Takam (35-3-1) could force him to change his gameplan. Takam represents more of a brawling pace and moves forward more than Pulev, who uses a more calculated approach in his fights. Joshua, though, understands what he needs to do differently against Takam.
"With Pulev it wasn't about whipping him around the body, it was about staying off the line and boxing down the middle," Joshua said via Sky Sports. “Carlos is different — he can trade down the middle.
“My speed will beat his combinations. A good way to beat Carlos is to take his body out, that's what Alexander Povetkin did to him.”
This will be Joshua’s first fight since defeating Wladimir Klitschko by TKO in April. The fight became an instant classic in the heavyweight division and following a wild fifth round, during which Joshua dropped Klitschko, Joshua came back from the adversity in the sixth after being badly hurt and dropped by the Ukrainian. With his victory over one of the greatest heavyweights of all time in Klitschko, Joshua finally answered whether he had the heart of a lion, or the shakiness of a sheep.
Joshua stopped Klitschko in the 11th round, while only two of his previous 18 opponents made it beyond the third round. Takam, 36 years old, has been stopped only once in his career by Alexander Povetkin in 2014. Should Joshua defeat Takam, he knows that a possible bout with WBC champ, American Deontay Wilder, could be on the horizon in 2018. The two have increased their war of words of late with speculation of a possible matchup after each of their upcoming title defenses.
“In a career, it’s all good going undefeated and looking good,” Joshua said last week via boxingscene.com. “But when it’s all said and done, how are people gonna remember you? He hasn’t had any memorable fights.
“There’s nothing I can tell you and say, ‘Oh, do you remember Deontay Wilder’s 29th fight? That was an unbelievable heavyweight fight!’ Do you know what I mean? So he needs a real remarkable fight to really stamp his name in the history of heavyweight boxing. That’s why I say he needs it a little bit more [than me] right now. And especially being in America, especially, this is the Mecca of boxing. I even need it. I need Wilder to have this remarkable fight. I need to be the one to kind of step up and make this dream reality. This is where I’m coming from. I would be honored to travel to America to compete with Wilder.”
Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight belt in a rematch with Bermane Stiverne on Nov. 4. Joshua isn’t looking past Takam, though, knowing he won’t be an easy out.
"People have said, 'Josh, what round? What round?’,” Joshua said via Sky Sports regarding the fight with Takam. “I think we're going for a 10 to 12 round fight because this guy's head is like a block of cement."
The Joshua and Takam fight can be seen live on Showtime, this Saturday at 5 p.m.