SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 28, 2017 – Although there wasn’t much doubt about British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua winning a lopsided decision against Carlos Takam of France Saturday night in Cardiff, Wales, an overly hasty referee stoppage by Phil Edwards at 1:34 of the tenth round detracted from the outcome.
“I have no interest with what’s going on with the officials, said Joshua after the fight. “That’s not my job. My job is to worry about my opponent. I was watching him, I was trying to break him down until, the referee stopped it.
“The people wanted to see (Carlos) Takam unconscious on the floor, am I right? That’s what I was trying to get to … But I don’t have control over the referee’s decision. We get the win and now we’re on to a positive 2018.”
The fight leaves plenty of intriguing questions to be answered in the year ahead.
Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) was up on all the cards by a wide margin; CompuBox stats back this up showing Joshua landing three times as many total punches (152 to 52) and power punches (91 to 36) compared to his opponent. Takam (35-4-1, 27 KOs) of France via Cameroon suffered a knockdown when his glove touched the canvas in the sixth round. He perhaps won one of the second half rounds in the fight. Nevertheless, only one other opponent had ever taken Joshua this deep into a fight, and that was the great champion Wladimir Klitschko in what is likely to hold up as the 2017 Fight of the Year.
Takam boxed well and moved well, scoring at times with solid right hands but not doing enough to seriously hurt Joshua. But he kept him honest. Takam, 36, suffered a significant cut in the fourth round after a punch, and the bleeding never really got under control. Takam soldiered on and was still in the fight until the stoppage.
Joshua, 28, may have suffered a broken nose in the second round due to a headbutt. Whether it was due to the nose or carrying his highest weight to date in a fight at 254 pounds, Joshua appeared winded at times in the later rounds. Asked about his nose, Joshua said it did feel broken. “I broke it, I couldn’t breathe. Imagine him (Takam) catching up in the later rounds, it would have been a disaster. You have to control these situations. If I showed any signs of weakness the ref might have jumped in and done whatever, I had to keep my composure and continue the fight.”
It wasn’t a particularly thrilling bout, but give Takam credit for fortitude and determination. He took the fight on very short notice. He proved he’s got a tough chin and didn’t come merely for a paycheck. He deserved to end the fight on his feet. Takam should consider his performance a moral victory.
Joshua didn’t lose a bit of luster with his adoring British fans, who set an indoor crowd record for boxing by filling 78,000 seats at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. But if you’re Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder, or even Tyson Fury, you’ll watch this fight again to read any tea leaves there.
Joshua said he will seek medical care for his nose and keep training. “Everyone knows where we’re headed.”
Headed toward Wilder? “It has to happen for sure,” said Joshua.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn laid out the plan. “AJ’s told me he wants the belts. Deontay Wilder, he talks a lot. He’s not really fighting anybody. Deontay Wilder against Anthony jJoshua has to happen. There’s also a great heavyweight, Tyson Fury. We want to see him come back to the sport.
“Anthony Joshua wants to be in real fights. I promise the fans, Anthony Joshua will give you the fights you want. Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Tyson Fury. They’re the 2018 fights.”
But don’t expect them in that order; and with Fury reportedly closer to 400 pounds than 300, his return is far from a sure thing.
Don’t expect any of these bouts to take place in the U.S. “Anthony Joshua has achieved so much. I don’t think we should go abroad, I think we should stay right here. I think we should keep the British flag flying, that’s what Anthony Joshua has done,” said Hearn. It’s hard to argue with Hearn when his champion has sold 168,000 tickets in his last two fights combined. Making up that kind of gate money in the U.S. would be difficult at best. Wilder needs to be sure his passport is in order so he’s ready when the opportunity comes.
Joshua vs. Takam: Undercard Results
Ireland’s Katie Taylor delivered the most thrilling fight of the card. With at least 50,000 people in their seats early in Cardiff, Taylor (7-0, 4 KOs) and opponent Esther Sanchez of Argentina (17-3, 9 KOs) put on an all-action bout, with Taylor winning a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring it 99-90. Taylor is now the WBA women’s lightweight champion, her first professional title.
Taylor, who has one of the best body attacks in women’s boxing, dropped the tough Sanchez in the second round. Sanchez proved to be a worthy opponent, getting up and offering spirited opposition until the final bell.
People who don’t consider themselves fans of the women’s side of the sport would change their minds watching this bout. If allowed to fight three minute rounds instead of two minutes, Taylor might have gotten a stoppage. Sanctioning bodies around the world need to make this happen. It’s what fans like to see.
By contrast, heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Robert Helenius didn’t offer much action to fans in their bout. Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) won the WBC “silver” title by decision over Helenius (25-2, 16 KOs), 119-109 X 2 and 118-110. Whyte wasn’t busy enough; Helenius threw a lot of shots that missed wide. This sets up Whyte as a possible mandatory challenger for WBC champion Deontay Wilder in early 2018. Based on Saturday’s performance, fans will only look forward to the fight as a box Wilder needs to check off on his way to a fight with Joshua later in the year.
Super flyweight Khalid Yafai (23-0, 14 KO) retained his title with a unanimous decision over Japan’s Sho Ishida (24-1, 13 KO). Scores were 118-110 and 116-112 X 2. Yafai wants an opportunity to fight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicarague, even though he’s lost twice now to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand.
Frank Buglioni held onto British light heavyweight title, handing previously-undefeated Craig Richards his first loss. Buglioni (21-2-1, 15 KO) earned scores of 117-111, and 116-113 in his favor. Richards falls to 10-1, 4 KO.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group