ANTHONY JOSHUA is adamant he will have a tougher time getting rid of Carlos Takam than he would have done against Kubrat Pulev following the Bulgarian’s withdrawal.
The Sofia hardman had worked his way into the mandatory position for the first of those belts but when Pulev decided he was unable to fight it went down to the next man on the rankings, which is Frenchman Takam.
The 36-year-old is renowned as a durable opponent and he will arrive in Cardiff with a 35-3-1 (27) record.
Joshua says that Takam has found himself clutching a golden ticket but the world heavyweight champion believes he is now in for a harder night’s work following the change of opponent.
He said, “When we heard about the injury there could have been two reactions and one would have been that the whole show is cancelled, that would have been a nightmare for everyone involved.
“But we have to look at the positive in that we still have a lively opponent.
“And Takam will be harder to knockout because he’s incredibly durable. His style means he’s harder to knockout than Pulev, for sure.
“I’m not saying that Takam is going to beat me, I’m saying Takam is not going to come in and lie down in the first round.
“I think that’s the mindset of anyone who fights because he’s in hostile territory with a lot of people who are not there to support him, so he will think ‘what have I got to lose?’.
“This is his golden ticket to shock the world.”
So did he wonder about the legitimacy of the injury when he heard the news just 11 days before their money-spinning clash?
Joshua added, “Rob [McCracken] did because they are more experienced than me. Rob just did a look, there was a vibe that he got.”
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist also revealed that he has already met Takam, after his successful world title defence against Dominic Breazeale in June 2016.
“It was after I fought at The O2 against Dominic Breazeale,” said Joshua.
“Takam waited at my hotel in reception and said to me ‘I want to fight you!’ I said, ‘I’ve already had a fight.’ I swear!
“It was the Breazeale fight. He came to the fight, then waited for me in reception. I knew he was. He’s a big unit, 22 stone, he’s a big unit.
“These fighters are now watching me, so Takam will definitely know my strengths and weaknesses.”
It has been suggested that the late change of opponent may disrupt Joshua’s preparation for the bout, especially with fight night closing in.
“No problem,” he countered. “We never had any Pulev clones come in for sparring, with all this technology now designing an opponent just like Pulev.
“No, Rob trains me to work on my own strengths and weaknesses, no matter who it is we fight I think I will always be in the best shape, not worrying about who I’m going to fight.”