While Deontay Wilder’s defense of his WBC title against Alexander Povetkin in Russia this weekend has now been postponed, there is still a very significant heavyweight title on the schedule for Saturday night, as undefeated heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker returns to his native New Zealand to face the toughest opponent of his career, Carlos Takam.
Parker emerged as a wrecking machine in 2015, going 5-0 with five KOs. He beat Kali Meehan, Bowie Tupou, Yakup Saglam, Jason Pettaway and Daniel Martz. That’s not exactly a murder’s row, but it’s certainly a very good year for a fighter in his early 20s.
Parker is based out of Las Vegas now and looks like he could be a very big player in a heavyweight scene that has been heating up in a big way this year. An opponent like Takam is exactly the test he needs to see where he truly stands in the bigger picture.
Takam is based out of France now, but represented his native Cameroon in the 2004 Olympics. Like Parker, he’s a big, athletic heavyweight. The breakout performance for Takam came in January 2014, when he drew with Mike Perez. I had him winning the fight, as did one judge. He followed that performance by winning a unanimous decision over the always tough Tony Thompson.
Takam’s only loss came against Povetkin, by Round 10 KO in October 2014. While that fight set Takam back in terms of his standing as a top-tier contender, I’d still rank him in the division’s top 10. He’s a formidable gatekeeper, if nothing else.
So Parker can hardly afford to look past Takam. At 35, Takam might be looking at perhaps the last big opportunity of his career. A win for him against one of the sport’s hottest young fighters would very much put him in line for a title shot.
A win for Parker will signify his arrival in the division’s top 10.