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Joshua weighs-in at career high 254lbs for Takam

Anthony Joshua

By Juan Flores: In a sign that Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) hasn’t learned his lesson from his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko, he weighed in at 254 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in for his title defense of his IBF/WBA heavyweight belts against challenger Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) on Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The 254 lbs. represent a career high for Joshua, whose previous career high of 250lbs. came in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko on April 29. Joshua was bulky, slow and very heavy looking in that fight. To no one’s surprise, Joshua gassed out in the 5th round after throwing a dozen punches early in the round.

Joshua will enjoy an 18.5-pound weight advantage over the 235 ½ lb. Takam. Whether the weight advantage will lead Joshua to victory is the magic question.

“I’ve been doing a lot more running. Maybe I’m starting to fill out as I get older and I’m starting to find my natural weight,” Joshua said. “Who knows what it is. I definitely feel a lot fitter than I have in previous fights.”

Joshua’s added size makes him look more like a body builder than ever before. The extra muscle could help Joshua against Takam by allowing him to handle the mauling style that he sometimes uses on the inside. At his best, Takam usually weighs about 250 lbs. Coming into the Joshua fight at 235 ½ lbs. could be a mistake for him. Takam looked much smaller than Joshua when the two of them were standing head to head. Joshua’s 18.5 lb. weight advantage could help him deal with Takam’s shorter, stockier frame. Takam will be looking to get in close so that he can land his heavy shots. But with Joshua now so much heavier than Takam, he’ll be able to rough him up in close to keep him from being able to use his shorter frame to do damage on the inside.

Joshua’s career high weight is a surprise to a lot of boxing fans, as his promoter Eddie Hearn had been saying that he could come in 10 to 15 lbs. lighter for the Takam fight than he had against Klitschko. With Joshua weighing even heavier than he was for the Klitschko fight, it makes Hearn look like he was trying to trick the fans and Takam with his weight predictions. Even Joshua got into the act, telling the boxing media on Thursday that he was too light, and that he should have come into the Takam fight heavier.

For his part, Takam weighed in at 235 ½ pounds. That’s the lightest weight for Takam in 11 years since his second pro fight in 2006 agains Thierry Guezouli. Takam weighed 227 lbs. for that fight.
This I what Joshua had said to Sky Sports News on Thursday about his weight:

”I wish I came in heavier, so we could just stand there and slug it out with each other. His punches are going to be ricocheting through my body, so the bigger you are, the stronger you are, but why I came in lighter, I thought I was fighting Pulev.”

Obviously, Joshua’s high weight for the Takam fight isn’t something he just planned in the last 2 weeks since he replaced the injured Kubrat Pulev. Joshua clearly intended on coming in heavy for the Pulev fight, and he kept his weight high once Takam replaced him.

Joshua showed conditioning problems in weighing 250 lbs. in his fight with Klitschko on April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Joshua, 27, stopped the 41-year-old Klitschko in the 11th round, but he was hurt in the 6th round. Joshua gassed out in the 5th, and he was exhausted from that point on until the 10th round. The large crowd of 90,000 boxing fans energized the depleted looking Joshua in the 11th, and he was able to stop Wladimir with a series heavy shots. It was thought after the fight that Joshua would lose some of the muscle weight that he’d put on to make him faster, more agile and capable at fighting hard without tiring. However, Joshua’s added weight of 254 lbs. at Friday’s weigh-in suggests that he hasn’t learned his lesson from the Klitschko fight, and he could pay a heavy price on Saturday night when he battles Takam.

Joshua vs. Takam will be televised on Showtime World Championship Boxing this Saturday night.

“I’m not going to say I’m going to knock him out and smash him up and all these types of things,” said Joshua after the weigh-in. “But that’s what I have to do.”

It’s important that Joshua does try and knockout the 36-year-old Takam on Saturday night, given how heavy he is. Takam is known for having great stamina, and an ability to throw a massive amount of punches per round. If Takam can take Joshua into the deeper rounds, and force him to fight at a pace that is beyond his muscular body can handle, he could knock him out. Joshua has become a modern-day George Foreman with huge size and his poor stamina. Like Foreman, Joshua is at his best when he’s scoring quick knockouts in the first 6 rounds or less. But also like Foreman, Joshua can gas out quickly if he’s forced to fight at a super-fast pace. Joshua has extraordinary boxing skills when he uses them, but he tends to shoot for fast knockouts. That could be Joshua’s undoing against Takam. If Joshua chooses not to focus on his boxing game, he could get caught into a war with Takam that quickly drains him like a large battery. Takam is a different type of heavyweight. Joshua has never fought anyone like Takam before, as this guy doesn’t tire. He can throw 60 to 80 punches per round without fading. Joshua has never shown the ability to throw more than 50 punches per round without looking exhausted.

Based on the way that Joshua’s weight has slowly been creeping upwards since he started his career in 2013, it’s possible that he could soon be weighing 260 lbs. for his fights. You hate to see a good heavyweight like Joshua go overboard with his weight training, but it looks like he’s on his way to becoming another Primo Carnera. For the boxing fans that aren’t familiar with Carnera, he was 6’5”, 267 lb. Italian heavyweight that fought from 1928 to 1946. Carnera was known for being huge with massive body building type muscles on his 6’5 ½” frame. Carnera did well against some of the top heavyweights in his era, but his heavily muscular frame slowed him down, causing him to lose to popular fighters like Joe Louis and Max Baer. With Joshua’s weight steadily increasing since he started his career at 230 just 4 years ago, it’s not hard to imagine that he could wind up well into the 260s before long if he doesn’t back off with his weight training.

If Joshua was serious about him wanting to come in heavier for the Takam fight than he is now, then it begs the question of how much heavier did he want to be for the fight? Did Joshua want to come into the Takam fight weighing 260 pounds?

We’ll see on Saturday night if Joshua’s added weight will hurt him or not against Takam. Weighing 254 suggests that Joshua is going to go all out in round 1 and 2 to try and score a quick knockout of Takam. Joshua tends to draw energy from the large crowds. He doesn’t shut them out and focus on his game plan the way that more disciplined fighters do. This could bite Joshua in the backside if Takam is still standing after round 2. If Joshua shoots all his fireworks off early in the fight, Takam could take over the fight and knock him out just by having the superior stamina of the two. The good news is Joshua is still young and talented enough to come back from a loss to Takam. The unwelcome news is if he continues to add more and more muscle weight with each fight, it won’t be long until he becomes a modern day Primo Carnera. Someone needs to save Joshua from himself, as his love for weight lifting is turning him into a body builder and it’s not helping his performances inside the ring.

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