The stoppage was premature, but the outcome wasn’t in doubt. Anthony Joshua retained his WBA & IBF World heavyweight titles with a 10th round stoppage win over the gritty Carlos Takam.
Takam was robbed of the opportunity to finish the fight on his feet by the ill-timed stoppage. The Cameroon native bled from cuts over both eyes, but put on a valiant effort against the bigger, faster, stronger and younger Joshua. Joshua, 20-0 (20 KO’s), set the tone early by stalking the 36-year-old Takam. The challenger showed excellent head movement and a stiff jab at times but was on the defensive for much of the early rounds.
Joshua, 26, fought at a measured pace throughout in front of 78,000, at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. His defense looked improved despite being the aggressor. A clash of heads in the second caused Joshua’s nose to bleed profusely. But it wasn’t as bad as the cuts over Takam’s eyes, caused by a series of blows in the fourth. Later in that stanza, a perfect counter left hook forced Takam to touch the canvas in order to steady himself.
Referee Phil Edwards properly ruled it a knockdown. The beatdown continued in the ensuing rounds, but Takam refused to wilt, even as the ringside doctor inspected his cuts on numerous occasions. Takam began showing off his own offense in the seventh. A bevy of Takam rights in the eighth and ninth might’ve made a few among the pro-Joshua crowd nervous but the champion remained composed.
The end came in the tenth, beginning with a Joshua right hook. Joshua followed up with two more shots, prompting Edwards to step in—far too early. The crowd booed lustily. Official time was 1:34.
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports promised a 2018 bout versus undefeated WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder although Joshua seemed a bit more hesitant. Wilder will face mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne next week possibly setting up the anticipated showdown next year.