By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America
Anthony Joshua prepared to face French heavyweight Carlos Takam, knowing full well that a victory could propel him to a meeting with Deontay Wilder. For Joshua, this is one of those fights that prove to be instrumental in comparison as Takam has already lost to New Zealand undefeated Joseph Parker by decision and was knocked out by Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin three years ago. If Joshua stopped Takam, this could send a message that he is indeed the man and certainly, he is a popular heavyweight as he filled out a 78,000 stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
After uneventful three first rounds in which Joshua chased Takam around the ring but in the fourth, a Joshua left hook sent Takam down for an eight count and through the next two rounds, he simply dominated the actions before Takam landed some solid right hands of his own to make for a competitive seventh round. Takam started to landed punches to Joshua throughout the ninth just as he did in the seventh round but Joshua nailed Takam with solid shots and combinations including upper cuts and hooks. Takam got nailed with two rights and Takam reeled. The referee stopped the fight but the stoppage was controversial as Takam appeared to have his wits and while he was nailed with shots, he didn’t look he was ready to go down. However, it was no doubt that Joshua was winning the fight and he may have eventually stopped Takam later in the round but it may have been premature stoppage. Joshua showed that his usual solid technical skills as he landed combinations against the game Takam and Joshua power wore his opponent down. He became the second fighter to stop Takam.
This Saturday, it is Deontay Wilder turn as he takes on Bermane Stiverne in a rematch of two years ago. Stiverne has not fought since he defeated Derric Rossey two years ago and was a last minute substitute for Luis Ortiz, who tested positive for Performancing enhancing drugs. While many questioned what Stiverne did to deserve a mandatory challenge, he was the former reigning champion and was already in training for a bout on the undercard against once defeated Dominic Breazeale. While it was assume the veteran Ortiz would give Wilder a test, Stiverne is the only fighter to go the distance against Wilder.
The question now that remains if the two parties can get together and when provided if Wilder prevail Wilder-Anthony fight does hold appeal since they may be the two best heavyweights now reigning and both are powerful punches, allowing for a promising fight and great ending. After that bout there are still others out there to excite fans and once again bring the heavyweight division to the forefront.