October 26, 2017
October 26, 2017
Carlos Takam

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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UNIFIED heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Takam faced off at the National Museum in Cardiff on Thursday during the final press conference for their heavyweight blockbuster this Saturday live on SHOWTIME from sold-out Principality Stadium.

Joshua and Takam will square off in front of an all-time indoor boxing record of 78,000 fans on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING beginning at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT in the U.S.

Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) returns for the first time since unifying the heavyweight division via knockout in a leading Fight of the Year thriller with long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko this past April.

“We’re going to have to put that Klitschko win to the side at some stage because boxing is unforgiving,” Joshua said on Thursday.  “That was that. This is now.  Carlos is a completely different animal than Klitschko.

“Who knows what’s going to happen in that ring Saturday. This division is unpredictable. You saw I got tired in the fifth round against Klitschko.  Am I going to find out I’m only a five round fighter? Takam is tough and can go the distance. He’s definitely going to take me into late waters and that’s where it’s going to be interesting.”

Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) has experience in close bouts with reigning WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker and former challenger Alexander Povetkin.  The 2004 Olympian from Cameroon enters the contest having boxed more than three times the professional rounds as Joshua.

“My experience will help me win the fight,” Takam said.  “I’ve been in there with a champion.  When we get in the ring it’s just two fighters.  Only at the end of the fight will we know who the real world champion is.

“I saw Joshua go down.  I saw he has a weak point, and we’ve been working on targeting that.”

Joshua and Takam meet 24 years after Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno squared off in the first all-British heavyweight world championship in front of more than 25,000 fans at the National Stadium in Cardiff.  There will be more than 78,000 at the new National Stadium – Principality Stadium – on Saturday.

Carlos Takam

Here’s what the fighters had to say on Thursday:

Anthony Joshua

“Fighting is all I do. It’s all I know. It’s an honor to be defending these belts. I don’t always like to talk about the belts because I’ve always been a fighter before that and I’ve always had the ambition of being a talented fighter before I became champion. I’m just looking forward to getting in the ring and handling business.

“We’re going to have to put that Klitschko win to the side at some stage because boxing is unforgiving. That was that. This is now. Carlos is a completely different animal than Klitschko.

“I do know that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win. In terms of style, technique and preparation, it’s completely different. Every camp is completely different. My mindset is completely different. All will be revealed Saturday. Best of luck to both men and the best man will win.

“[Trainer Rob McCracken] has never just trained me for one style of opponent. He’s trained me to be the best me. He’s trained me to be ready, to be fit, to be focused and to adapt new skills to my boxing. No matter who my opponent is, I’ll always be in good condition to compete against any champion or any contender in the world.

“We’re in the business of providing really good fights. We’re not here to tip and tap and run for 12 rounds. We’re here to get stuck in.

“I know what it’s like to be the non-champion fighting for a championship. When there’s that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it’s going to be competitive. This is heavyweight championship boxing. Both of us are on the same elite level so you’re going to see an elite fight.

“Who knows what’s going to happen in that ring Saturday. This division is unpredictable. You saw I got tired in the fifth round against Klitschko. Am I going to find out I’m only a five round fighter? Takam is tough and can go the distance. He’s definitely going to take me into late waters and that’s where it’s going to be interesting.

“With [Takam’s] style and his strength, I wish I came into this fight heavier so we could just stand there and slug it out with each other. Why’d I come in lighter? I thought I was fighting Pulev – a real amateur-style boxer. I had to stay off the line, jab with him and match his speed. Takam is a completely different style of fighter so I might have come in a bit heavier if I knew I was fighting Takam.

“I’m just a reflection of hard work. The UK boxing scene is quite grassroots. I still go to my amateur club. Just before this championship fight, I was training with all the amateurs – kids that were just 10 years-old. You can only achieve what you see, so when they’re training with Olympians and professional world champions, they’re inspired. That’s real nice to be the champion and still keep it real training with the grassroots athletes.”

Carlos Takam

“My experience will help me win the fight.  I’ve been in there with a champion.  When we get in the ring it’s just two fighters.  Only at the end of the fight will we know who the real world champion is.

“I saw Joshua go down. I saw he has a weak point, and we’ve been working on targeting that.”

“I’m going to box my way. I’m going to come forward, fight my fight.

“I believe in myself.  I’m confined.  It wouldn’t be a shock if I won because of the confidence I have.

“When I heard about the fight, I was already in preparation for another fight so I had to completely change the way I trained to be ready for this fight. I’m coming out on the 28th to win the fight.

“All I can do is invite you to see the outcome of the fight on the 28th. I’m coming out to win.

“I know it’s going to be a great fight. This will change my life in boxing but not from the person I am.”