Can Carlos Takam Pull Off the Impossible Against Anthony Joshua?

Boxing is a sport known as the sweet science; the subtlety often masked by the barbarity, to the extent that the layman perhaps wouldn’t even consider it a sport at all. It is, to them, just two reasonably similar-sized people trying to punch each other’s heads off, but if that were true then surely all fights would be pure 50/50 encounters?

That’s not true, as we know, and so we conclude that boxing is a highly-skilful sport where the cream invariably rises to the top.

The premier heavyweight purveyor of the sweet science is undoubtedly Anthony Joshua, a young athlete who is following in the footsteps of a long lineage of British boxing superstars. AJ is a brilliant boxer, a role model and a mega star – and at the time of writing has shown no sign of deviating from his mission of unifying the heavyweight division.

His next scheduled fight was supposed to be against Kubrat Pulev on October 28 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, but the Bulgarian brute had to withdraw after sustaining a shoulder injury in training.

Rather than disappoint is fans, AJ’s mentor Eddie Hearn has instead brought in Carlos Takam as a straight replacement; a fighter who has been training as the ‘standby option’ for the past couple of months.

So there are no excuses for Takam to make in defeat, but neither is there any pressure on him here. Low expectation can be deadly in the heavyweight division – Tyson Fury and Hasim Rahman upset the odds, and bookmakers, in defeating Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis respectively – so can we feasibly see another huge shock involving a British boxer later in the month?

Journeyman Looking to Hit the Big Time

Takam has had 39 professional fights and the first 30 were completely anonymous victories in leisure centres across his adopted French homeland.

But he made the heavyweight division sit up and take notice when he defeated the talented Tony Thompson on a unanimous decision.

A loss to Alexander Povetkin followed next, but a couple of victories over fellow journeymen Michael Sprott and George Arias somehow earned Takam a shot at Joseph Parker in bid to climb the IBF rankings.

Parker won at a canter, and despite a pair of wins since that was the last moment of any significance in the French-Cameroonian’s career.

So, 15 months after his last fight of any consequence – a defeat against a fighter not really good enough to lace AJ’s boots – Takam must somehow produce the performance of a lifetime to even make the final bell against the unbeaten British champion.

The Verdict

The bookies have made AJ the 1/25 favourite here, with Takam a fairly generous 16/1 to deliver one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

So the odds-makers suggest he will struggle to land a glove on Joshua, let alone win, and so punters need to look elsewhere for value.

Takam has only been knocked out once, and that was by the heavy-handed Alexander Povetkin, so AJ might not be able to breach the Frenchman’s defences and iron chin as quickly as he might like. He took seven rounds to see off Dominic Breazeale and Dillian Whyte, and perhaps we’re looking at a similar conclusion to this one.

An avenue of potential value would be to explore Over 4.5 Rounds at 11/10, a wager that would have landed in three of AJ’s last five fights. It’s hard to find any other odds-against value here to be honest.