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Anthony Joshua to fight Carlos Takam on Oct.28

By Jeff Aranow: Matchoom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn has verified that he’s going to have IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) defend his title against #3 IBF Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) to salvage the October 28 card and to replace the injured IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KO).

Pulev suffered a right shoulder injury a week ago in training, and he won’t be able to face the 27-year-old Joshua this Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

”Update.. Kubrat Pulev has a shoulder injury and is out. IBF install IBF No.3 Carlos Takam as done to fight AJ on October 28,” said Hearn on his Twitter.

What’s unclear is whether Pulev has lost his mandatory status with the IBF or if he’ll be allowed to still take the fight with him once his shoulder injury has healed and the fight rescheduled. The IBF has installed Takam as Joshua’s replacement opponent for October 28, which suggests that this fight counts as a mandatory defense for him. If Pulev loses his mandatory spot, it could take him a year or two before he eventually gets the title shot. It’ll be up to the IBF to decide what they want to do with Pulev.

Takam, 36, is a reasonable replacement opponent. He’s arguably a better fighter than Pulev with more punching power and the ability to throw a lot of punches. The one downside about Takam is he’s lost twice in the last 3 years in defeats against Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin.

Takam was beaten by Parker by a close 12 round unanimous decision last year on May 21 in New Zealand. It was somewhat controversial, as a lot of the boxing public thought that Takam had done enough to get the victory. Boxing News 24 scored the fight to Parker by a 116-112 score. Parker used good movement, a strong jab and nice combinations to win the decision. In Takam’s loss to Povetkin in 2014, he was knocked out in the 10th round. Povetkin dropped Takam in rounds 9 and 10. There was no controversy about that fight. The only thing you can say is Takam gave Povetkin a hard fight up until getting stopped.

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Takam’s best wins of his career have come against Tony Thompson, Michael Sportt and Gbenga Olukun. Takam was arguably robbed in his 10-round draw against Mike Perez on January 18, 2014. Takam appeared to do more than enough to deserve a win in that fight.

This is great news that the October 28th card is now salvaged, as there over 70,000 tickets already sold to boxing fans. If Joshua couldn’t fight on that date, it would lead to a massive storm of fans rushing back to ask for refunds of their tickets. The fans wouldn’t go for the idea of Hearn sliding the co-feature bout between heavyweight Dillian Whyte and Robert Helenius into the main event for the card. Hearn also is trying to build the Joshua vs. Whyte rematch by making it as big as possible before he evenly cashes the fight in. Hearn wants Whyte to beat WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder before he eventually makes the Joshua-Whyte 2 fight. Hearn believes Whyte can beat Wilder.

Joshua will need to be careful with Takam, because this guy can punch and he’ll be swinging for the fences if the two trade shots. This will be a much different fight for Joshua compared to his mismatches against Eric Molina and Charles Martin. Those two were very timid, and seemingly to throw punches. Takam is the opposite of those two. He’s going to be on the attack against Joshua from start to finish on October 28. Joshua won’t need to go looking for Takam, as he’ll be right there in front of him looking to take his head off with power shots.

The 6’5” Joshua will have a 4-inch height advantage over the 6’1” Takam, but both guys will be essentially weighing the same. Takam comes into his fights in the 240s.

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