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Joshua: “People wanted to see Takam unconscious”

Anthony Joshua

By Jeff Aranow: Immediately after stopping challenger Carlos Takam (35-4-1, 27 KOs) in the 10th round, Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) addressed the boos from the crowd by telling them that he thinks they wanted to see his opponent “unconscious” on the canvas at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The reality seemed more of a case of the boxing fans being VERY upset at a premature stoppage by the referee Phil Edwards rather than the fans being interested in seeing Takam knocked unconscious, as Joshua states. Takam, 36, was still trying to fight back at the time that the referee jumped in between the two fighters and stopped the fight in round 10. The boxing fans that paid their hard-earned money to come see the Joshua-Takam fight were obviously upset at what they felt was a referee hastily stopping a contest before it had a chance to play out.

It had nothing to do with the fans wanting to see Takam knocked out cold. The fans wanted to get their money’s worth, and the premature stoppage prevented them from seeing the fight end properly. If this was another sport, the fans would be equally upset if the contest was halted early by an official. The fans had a right to be upset last night at seeing the referee pull the plug on the Joshua-Takam fight.

“I think people wanted to see Takam unconscious on the floor. Am I right? OK, OK, so now I understand,” said Joshua in addressing the crowd after the fight. ”And that’s what I was trying to get to. Ten rounds, eleven rounds, twelve rounds, it was getting there, but as I said, I didn’t have control over the ref’s decision.”

Joshua seemed to be a little confused at why the boxing fans were booing. For Joshua to be talking to the crowd as if it was all about them wanting to see Takam hurt more, I think he’s missing the point. The fans weren’t blood thirsty. They just saw that Takam was still standing and weathering a storm of punches, and he wasn’t seemingly badly hurt and ready to drop. The referee stopped the fight way too early, and the paying fans had a right to be upset about it. Some of the fans had obviously traveled a long ways to see the Joshua vs. Takam fight, and didn’t want to have the fight halted early the way it was. It looks like Joshua was thinking initially that the boxing fans were booing him for his performance rather than them booing the strange way the referee stopped the contest.

“Listen I come to fight,” said Joshua “I don’t sit on the edge and make decisions. As you can see, it was a good fight until the ref stopped it, so I have the utmost respect for Takam. I have no interest in what’s going on with the officials. That’s not my job. My job is to worry about my opponent. I was watching him. I was trying to break him down round by round, and unfortunately, the ref stopped it.”

Joshua seems to be trying to get the blame off of him with the boxing fans. He’s missing the point. The fans weren’t upset with Joshua. They were angry at the referee for his decision to hastily stop the contest rather than letting it play out to see if Takam could survive Joshua’s flurry. With the way that Joshua gassed out in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko in round 5, there was a chance that a similar thing that could have happened in the 10th round last night at the Principality Stadium.

The fans didn’t get a chance to see if Joshua would gas out – again – or finish Takam. The fans don’t want to see fighters get hurt. They want to see a fight stopped when it’s supposed to be stopped, and in the opinion of a lot of the boxing fans, they felt the referee pulled the trigger in stopping the contest way too early.

It would have been nice for Joshua to give Takam some compliments when he was speaking to the fans after the fight. Instead of needlessly defending himself with the fans, Joshua should have showed some class and given Takam credit for fighting his heart out and making it an interesting fight for the boxing fans. After all, Takam took the fight on less than 2 weeks’ notice. For someone that didn’t even have an entire training camp to get ready for the hulking 254 pound Joshua, Takam did an admirable job.

Unfortunately, Takam didn’t get a chance to finish the fight. Takam says he wants a rematch with Joshua, and you make a strong argument that he deserves one with the way the fight was stopped prematurely. Takam was the visiting fighter, and he the way the fight was halted, it left a sour taste in his mouth and the mouth of many of the boxing fans that saw the contest.

The fans had a right to boo a bad stopped. Takam did not look hurt enough for the fight to be stopped in the view of many of the fans, and members of the media. Of course, the fans are going to boo. Joshua looked like he was gassing in rounds 7-10. The crowd got Joshua into it after he landed a good shot in the 10th. Takam didn’t look hurt by the first big uppercut from Joshua in the final sequence of the fight. Takam backed up after Joshua threw a few hard shots, and that’s when the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. It was an odd stoppage. The fans saw it as strange, and so they booed.

A rematch for Takam obviously isn’t going to happen, but hopefully stoppages like this don’t continue to happen. It would be a shame if the outcomes for these important fights are based on quick stoppages. If a fighter knows the tendencies of certain referees to quickly stop a fight, then all they need to do is throw a flurry of punches and wait that referee to jump in and halt the fight like we saw last night.


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