Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight titles against Carlos Takam in Cardiff on Saturday night.
The British superstar was due to face Kubrat Pulev. However, the Bulgarian was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury with two weeks to go.
That meant Carlos Takam stepping in to challenge for the straps. The Cameroonian-French fighter is ranked third by the IBF so can’t be disrespected too much.
We asked our boxing trader Tommy Young how he thought the big fight would go.
Ladbrokes News: Tommy, you’ve been knocking the predictions out of the park recently – fair play. Let’s start off – give us your thoughts on Joshua?
Tommy Young: Joshua is riding the crest of a wave after his epic clash with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in the spring.
That night he captured the WBA Super title to add to his IBF strap and cemented his place at the top of the Heavyweight division.
AJ was knocked down for the first time in his pro career. For a while, he looked completely done for until showing great powers of recovery to stop Wladimir in the 11th round.
Although it was the first time Joshua had been in trouble he came out of the fight with his reputation enhanced by the way he was able to dig in. We now know he has the toughness to go with his speed and power.
LN: For those of us who know little or nothing about him, can you tell us a bit more about Carlos Takam?
TY: Takam has had 39 fights, winning 35, of which 27 were stoppage victories. In his 3 losses, he’s only been stopped once, by former WBA regular champion and useful operator Alexander Povetkin.
He went the distance with Joseph Parker last year. And there was a couple of occasions in that fight where he had Parker hurt and had he been able to press on a bit more could have stopped him.
Unfortunately for him, he just didn’t quite have the stamina to keep the pressure on and lost a close decision while Parker went on to win the WBO world title.
At the time that looked a pretty good showing but Parker hasn’t lived up to his promise despite his world title victory.
Not many would give Parker much chance against Joshua. So for Takam to have lost – even if he did put in a good performance – is not the kind of form to suggest he can beat AJ.
So all that, and the fact Takam is taking the fight at late notice – it doesn’t look great for the challenger.
LN: Has Takam got any chance at all in this fight?
TY: Takam looks pretty solid. He’s only been stopped once before. Joshua has come out in the press this week and described his head as “like a block of cement” and predicted it could go late into the fight.
However, I’m not so sure about that. I think Joshua realises the need to talk Takam up since he’s a late replacement. But the fight will still be shown on PPV and it’s a pretty hard sell.
Come fight night I think all that will go out of the window and Joshua will go to work quickly to get Takam out of there.
LN: What’s the best betting angle here?
TY: Since we don’t want to be backing Joshua at 1/50 the best betting angle on this bout will be to see how long we think Takam can last.
He isn’t the fighter Joshua has been preparing for which can be awkward. After his scare against Klitschko, I feel Joshua will want to win the fight as quickly as possible.
He’ll want to move on to more lucrative fights with Wilder or Parker next year.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing