Tonight in Cardiff, in a fight that surpassed ALL expectations, IBF/WBA heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua finally overcame an incredibly gutsy late Carlos Takam; a late replacement foe for the injured Kubrat Pulev.
The end came in the 10th round, as Takam, bleeding from both eyes, was under fire. Still, the stoppage angered Takam and a large section of the massive crowd who booed the stoppage decision from the British referee. Joshua is now 20-0(20). Takam falls to 35-4-1(27).
Tonight’s great battle, expected by most to be an easy night for AJ, turned out to be a thriller. Despite being so much shorter, older and less powerful, Takam earned himself an absolute ton of respect. The drama began in round-two, as a Takam head-butt broke Joshua’s nose, causing him some distress. AJ went for the finish as a result. Takam was himself pouring blood in the 4th, his right eye cut badly.
It looked as though the fight would have to be stopped due to the quite horrific injury, but Takam was allowed to fight on – to the delight of the fans. A Joshua left hand decked Takam briefly in this session, the 4th, but otherwise the man from France was displaying a great chin; in fact an almost unimaginable chin.
The battle raged on and Joshua, at his career-heaviest, was breathing heavy; the nose injury no doubt hampering him in this department. Joshua really did crack Takam with everything, but the experienced warrior who was having his first shot at a world title just kept coming and coming, slinging plenty of leather himself, not too much of it landing. But what a heroic effort Takam was giving in a fight that he had just 12 days notice to get ready for.
The ending, in light of Takam’s brave, brave showing, is all the more annoying. Takam was still defending himself at the time of the stoppage and he was arguably hurt earlier on in the fight. How many times do Joshua’s army of fans boo his fights, or the ending of them?
A rematch is a possibility – and Takam, whose stock rose incredibly tonight, sure deserves one – but AJ is talking Deontay Wilder. Time will tell what happens next.
Tonight though, the 75,000 fans in attendance in Cardiff cheered on two boxing heroes: AJ and Takam. What a shame about the stoppage.