Anthony Joshua defeats Carlos Takam by dubious 10th round stoppage
Moments after defending his unified IBF and WBA heavyweight titles on Saturday night, Anthony Joshua had to do a bit of damage control, thanks to the abrupt stoppage from referee Phil Edwards in the 10th round of his defense against Carlos Takam.
“Takam, it was a pleasure. Listen, I come to fight. I don’t sit on the edge and make decisions. As you can see, it was a good fight up until the ref stopped it. I have the utmost respect for Takam, for putting on a good show,” said Joshua in the post-fight interview with Sky Sports.
Televised live on Showtime in the United States, an estimated 70,000 filled the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, to see Joshua’s follow-up fight after his April win over Wladimir Klitschko and, although they made their issues of the result vocal, they were eventually enamored by the man they really came to see.
“My job is to worry about my opponent,” Joshua said about the stoppage. “I was watching him. I was trying to break him down, round by round, and unfortunately the ref stopped it.
“I think people want to see Takam unconscious on the floor – am I right?” Joshua pontificated to the approving applause of the crowd. “That’s what I was trying to get to. We got the win and we’re on to a positive 2018.”
Takam, 35-4-1 (27), a 36-year-old Cameroonian-born Frenchman, acquitted himself well in the contest, considering he took it on only a few weeks notice, after Kubrat Pulev became unavailable, due to a shoulder injury. His busy body was a tricky moving target to start and, after an accidental headbutt in the second heat, Takam left Joshua with a bloody nose.
“It feels it,” replied Joshua when asked if he thought it was broken. “He’s like (Evander) Holyfield – coming under, popping up. I imagine it broke. I couldn’t breathe. He started catching up in the later rounds. It would’ve been a massive disaster, so I had to keep my cool.”
Joshua, 20-0 (20), was that indeed, as the success of his counter right uppercut became more frequent. In the fourth, Joshua corraled Takam into range and let off some big combinations. During one of the sequences, a punch caused a nasty cut over Takam’s right eye and, to make matters worse, Joshua’s left hook sent him to the canvas toward the end of the round. Takam looked like he was in trouble entering the fifth but he started timing Joshua’s jab with a right hand over the top. Takam also went from a moving target to a more stationary one, by the fight’s midway point, and although that seemed to play into Joshua’s game, Carlos was relishing in the gutsy exchanges.
The seventh round was perhaps Takam’s best and most clear span of three minutes. By this time, it was a full-fledged competitive fight and, with Joshua breathing out of his mouth, at times, and even missing wildly in moments, Takam was hurt early but still undoubtedly game. That said, Takam couldn’t help but find bad luck as he was suffering a leaking cut around the other eye, by the eighth. That didn’t stop him from having a good ninth round, as the exchanges came and went. He even managed to force Joshua to take backward steps in the headliner’s only moment of panic.
Dealing with a short, bulky and determined opponent, Joshua started to tee off in the fateful 10th. A left hand caught Takam in its opening minute and had him a bit frazzled as he started to only mind his defense. Another big right from Joshua connected with a thud and forced Takam to slightly pause but, while he tried to duck and dodge Joshua’s follow-up, Edwards stepped in. Takam was almost trapped in a headlock from Edwards, in that instance, and shook his head in shock once he realized the fight was being stopped.
Once he had a chance to speak about the fight, he overwhelming cheers for Takam were an indication of the crowd’s equal approval and sorrow but what will be discussed in the aftermath, other than how it ended, is what’s next for this budding superstar from England.
“To continue to grow in the sport of boxing. Everyone knows where we’re headed. What do the people want?…That’s what I’m interested in,” he said once already having them in his back pocket.
WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder was the first name brought up to Joshua and is certainly the biggest unification bout possible, at this point in time.
“It has to happen. It has to happen for sure,” proclaimed Joshua, “providing I’m free. I can’t fight Joe Blokes from anywhere, I have to fight championship fighters and these are fighters I have to compete with. Now that there’s belts on the line, there’s obligations as a champion. Once I fulfill these obligations, my door is open to any champion, provided it’s Wilder or provided it’s X, X or X.”
The Matchroom Boxing card also featured another world title bout in the super flyweight division.
Khalid Yafai, 23-0 (14), successfully defended his WBA 115-pound title with a unanimous decision over mandatory opponent Sho Ishida, by scores of 116-112 twice and 118-110.