The new superstar of British boxing, Nigerian born Anthony Joshua retained his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at a packed Principality Stadium in Cardiff last night with a tenth round stoppage win over Carlos Takam.
A late replacement for the injured Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, Takam had a decent record 35-1 record and he showed remarkable resilience and courage.
Even though Joshua was well ahead on points, there was disappointment in the arena when the referee Phil Edwards intervened and stopped the contest in the tenth round.
The sell out attendance of 74,000 were on their feet to welcome AJ – as he is known to his adoring fans – when he made his way to the ring.
He towered over his opponent in every sense. Five inches taller than his and more than two stone heavier (18st 2lb compared to 16st 11.5lb) but he made a cautious start to the scheduled 12 round world decider.
There was scarcely a punch thrown in anger in a subdued first round. Takam again stayed out of range at the start of the second and Joshua was being particularly cautious in his approach. But he finally rocked the underdog with a powerful left hook before scoring with a couple of crisp shots to the face.
There was concern, however, that he sustained a broken nose in a clash of heads and the corner worked to stem the bleeding at the end of the second.
Takam finally came out of his shell in the third and hurt the champion with a left hook in what was his best round so far.
Joshua went on the offensive in the fourth briefly trapping his opponent in the corner but not landing any really damaging shots.
But he finished the stanza well and Takam briefly hit the canvass after being caught by a left hook. Even though he was bleeding, he comfortably survived the count. Joshua went looking to finish it a – landing a couple of shots as the bell sounded.
The fifth round was halted as the doctor examined Takam’s bloodied eye and in final minute of the fight Joshua again peppered him with a range of shots but the contest reached the half way point with the challenger still standing.
Joshua continued to dominate the fight in the seventh round even if he did ship a right which hurt. But he came back strongly, even if he had no joy in lining up Takam for a knockout blow.
Enter the so-called ‘championship rounds’ with Joshua having success with his left hook but unable the land his follow up right due to the resilience of the challenger, who most certainly lacked nothing in bravery.
But the start of the tenth round was again halted as the doctor examined Takam’s eye but he was allowed to continue. While he was on the back foot he bravely came forward again and probably finished the round stronger than his opponent.
Takam again went on the offensive in round ten but two sharp right upper cuts from Joshua had the the brave challenger in trouble. He continued to ship blows to the head and the referee intervened to stop the fight.
The decision was greeted with boos from a section of the crowd and disbelief from Takam who deserved to go the distance. But AJ marches on – though not in the style expected.
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