Boxing fans like me are always waiting for the next big-time heavyweight star. Throughout the history of the sport, the high moments have always matched up to the rule of an iconic star at the top of the heavyweight division.
Among current top heavyweights, the best bet for that kind of career is clearly Britain’s Anthony Joshua. Big, well conditioned and athletic, he exudes star power. He won Olympic gold in 2012 and has so far compiled a perfect professional record–19-0, all by stoppage. Earlier this year he climbed off from the canvas to stop Wladimir Klitschko, the best heavyweight of this century.
Saturday in Wales, he will face Carlos Takam. This is not the sort of high-profile bout that will make his legend, but more of a stay-busy fight.
That’s to deny Takam’s status as a legitimate contender. He has an Olympic pedigree of his own, having represented his native Cameroon. In 2004. His breakthrough years as a pro came in 2014–he drew with Mike Perez, but should have won. He defeated Tony Thompson by wide margins. He earned a spot in the division’s top 10.
But he has struggled against true, top-shelf competition. In October 2014, he was stopped in 10 rounds by Alexander Povetkin. He dropped a decision to Joseph Parker in May 2016.
At 36, Takam could be facing his last opportunity for a big payday. I do not see him having any opportunity to win. He was a reasonable late replacement after Kubrat Pulev pulled out at the last moment.
There are a handful of fights out there right now that could elevate Joshua to the next level as a true star–if Tyson Fury is serious about returning next year, a showdown with Anthony Joshua would be a major draw. A cross-Atlantic battle with fellow undefeated knockout artist Deontay Wilder would likewise electrify fans. Beyond those two bouts, a unification fight with fellow amateur rival Joseph Parker would be a truly relevant matchup.