Anthony Joshua retained his two heavyweight title belts here last night but it was far from a satisfactory tenth round stoppage as Carlos Takam was halted by referee Phil Edwards, who believed the Cameroonian had shipped too much damage. It looked premature, Telegraph UK reports.
Joshua was tiring as the championship rounds approached having thumped challenger Takam with everything he had, dominating all but one of the rounds, yet unable to get the super sub with the granite chin, and tank-like physique, to comply with a denouement 80,000 spectators had paid to see: another knockout for Joshua.
The young man who is fast becoming a sports star now has 20 fights, twenty stoppages.
Yet this was far from perfect, and he took great risks at times, exposing himself to counter punches which could cost the Briton in fights against the likes of WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
There were plenty of warning signs in this fight: Joshua had his nose broken in the second round by Takam’s forehead and there were thrills in the fourth round as Takam was given a standing count after being knocked down by a counter left hook in a round when he suffered a bad cut above the right which troubled him for the next six rounds, and twice it was inspected by the ringside physician.
Joshua addressed the entire arena from the ring. He took the microphone … “What do you want, UK fans ? Wembley, Cardiff ? Las Vegas ? I just want to keep the sport growing…”
The entire stadium roared to his every word. “I didn’t have control of it, it was the ref’s decision (to stop the fight). Respect to Takam. He was like Evander Holyfield, ducking down, popping up…”
Holyfield was not a bad comparison, and Joshua certainly learnt again from this performance, and had trainer Rob McCracken screaming in his ear to box and not go for the knockout punch.
Takam, his face bloody and cut, was a warrior to the last and deeply vexed by the stoppage: “I don’t know why the referee stopped the match. I respect the champion and the UK fans, they are great fans and I am happy to box here. I don’t why they stopped it.
“I want a rematch, I make my preparations with 12 days to fight Anthony. I want a rematch, I want to box him again, I want him, he is a great champion.”
Super sub, who effectively saved the show, has a stock which has risen as he could well be a re-match opponent. But that will be down the line.
But the tenth round will be talked about for some time. This was a high profile affair and referee Edwards felt Takam had taken enough punishment, a right hand having nearly knocked Takam off his feet.
AJ’s told me he wants the belts. Deontay Wilder against Anthony Joshua has to happen,” said promoter Hearn after the bout.
“There’s also a great heavyweight called Tyson Fury. Anthony Joshua will give you the fights you want. Wilder, Fury, Joseph Parker – they’re the 2018 fights. I don’t think we should go abroad. But Anthony Joshua will fight anyone.”
Promoter Hearn rarely misses a trick and after using former Wales and Lion’s Scott Quinnell’s emotive words – “When you have butterflies they turn into dragons. They breathe fire” – as part of the advertising, what was clearly missed in the fortress stadium of Wales’ national sport, was the home anthem.
It has a special sound, and would have added to the atmosphere, certainly when Welshman Joe Cordina fought just before Joshua and Takam made their long walks to the ring.
If the Principality Stadium is to be the consistent autumn home of ‘AJ’ given the need to have a covered roof to house 80,000 a time, it would be an added touch to have ‘Land of My Fathers’.
There was the sense that there were many, many Welsh voices in the crowd. Just a thought.
In fact, there were no anthems prior to the bout, because the power went off for five minutes.
Source: Telegraph UK