Beefed up Anthony Joshua heads into tonight’s mandatory defence of his IBF title as a massive favourite to overcome underdog replacement Carlos Takam.
The Briton, 28, scaled in at a monster 254 pounds on Friday – his heaviest ever, as Joshua bids to fend off the Cameroonian and move on to a further unification in 2018.
Just looking at the two fighters already gives the appearance of a mismatch so adding Joshua’s superior power, guile and a 19-pound weight differential into the mix adds up to what should be an easy night’s work.
The man himself has predicted the fight could go into the later rounds, although his body language and preparation says something entirely different, as Joshua’s substantial frame isn’t built to go longer than around five or six sessions.
After that time, Joshua could begin to gas out due to his sheer bulk and would give Takam the opportunity to get into the fight, a bit like Wladimir Klitschko did in the sixth round of their meeting.
Granted Takam doesn’t have the skills or strength Klitschko possessed, therefore, all is firmly pointing towards a blitzkrieg from the champion in the opening two or three rounds in order to secure yet another early night.
Can Takam withstand this kind of barrage? That’s what we will find out, but judging by what Alexander Povetkin did when he came in at 252 pounds for his 2014 clash with the IBF number three, it doesn’t bode well for the challenger.
Povetkin took out Takam in the tenth round of a WBC Silver title tilt, adding to a previous loss to Gregory Tony, and which was also followed up by defeat against Joseph Parker in 2016.
A perfect 19 wins with 19 KO’s is certain to be 20 for 20 for Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and it’s just a matter of how long it takes the unified king to get the job done.
For my money, it won’t take longer than twelve minutes.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay