With Kubrat Pulev out, world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua gets a new opponent for his October 28th, 2017 bout at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
AJ was expected to make a mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev but the Bulgarian pulled out of their encounter after suffering a torn muscle in his right shoulder area. Joshua will now defend his belts against the next highest fighter on the IBF’s heavyweight rankings.
That man is 3rd ranked Carlos Takam, who lost to WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in a competitive bout in 2015. Takam has a record of 35-3-1 with 27 KOs. The Frenchman has won two in a row since losing to Parker. He will be challenging for a world title for the second time in his career.
Joshua has made three successful defenses of the IBF heavyweight title he won from Charles Martin in 2016. The 28-year old British superstar knocked out Dominic Breazeale in in seven rounds, Eric Molina in three and then sent Klitschko to retirement last April 29th in the leading 2017 Fight of the Year candidate.
Anthony Joshua is a -6600 favorite against Takam, who is currently listed at +200. AJ is considered to be the best heavyweight in the planet and is the total package as a fighter. He has power, hand speed, footwork and boxing IQ. He’s shown few weaknesses so far, although he was dropped by Klitschko during their bout.
Takam is almost nine years older than Joshua and is much shorter than the champion. He has knockout power too and has won four of his last five bouts by stoppage. He has a come forward style but tends to lose steam after a couple of rounds. His best chance against AJ would be in the opening rounds of the bout.
Given his age and his tendency to drop his hands, his stamina and durability should be a problem if this goes to the middle rounds. But don’t think he is out of shape because even before Pulev pulled out, Takam was already a standby opponent so he is ready. Problem is, Joshua looks unstoppable right now. He has a perfect record of 19-0 with 19 KOs.
Look for Anthony Joshua to send Takam packing early. It’s going to be a quick night in Wales. Nobody’s perfect but AJ will keep his clean slate. Anthony Joshua by knockout before round six.