An increasingly familiar story was played out in the boxing ring in late October at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, as Anthony Joshua overcame Carlos Takam in the 10th round of their title bout. The Watford fighter remains undefeated in twenty fights with a 100% knockout record.
Takam, who stepped in to replace Kubrat Pulev as Joshua’s opponent with only 12 days notice, gave a strong account of himself in the ring, and landed several blows to raise some fears amongst the home crowd that what looked like a probable procession would end up as one of the biggest upsets of recent times. A head collision in the second round broke Joshua’s nose, and the champion left himself open to a number of counter-punches which will have had the likes of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder salivating at the prospect of taking him on. Despite this, Joshua’s superior size and dominance prevailed, as the referee stopped the fight, arguably a tad early, mid-way through the 10th round.
“If 2017 has been a coronation and a stamping of authority for Anthony Joshua, then 2018 could well be the year that the new superstar joins the historical elite.”
Joshua’s outstanding start to his boxing career is, naturally, headlined by his stoppage over Wladimir Klitschko in April. That victory put Joshua’s name firmly at the top of the world boxing scene, and has encouraged the likes of Tyson Fury (who was the first to defeat Klitschko for almost ten years in 2015),Wilder and Joseph Parker (the WBO heavyweight champion) to speak out in anticipation of potential clashes with AJ. Whilst Tyson Fury has had his high-profile struggles with illness, Wilder could end up facing Joshua next year, especially after his sensational first-round knockout of Bermane Stiverne in New York. Joshua is on a mission to unify the division, with Wilder’s WBC belt one of two he’s still yet to claim; a potential clash at Wembley in the summer of 2018 has been mooted by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
If 2017 has been a coronation and a stamping of authority for Anthony Joshua, then 2018 could well be the year that the new superstar joins the historical elite. Although it appears that Dillian Whyte is the man more likely to be put forward for Deontay Wilder in the immediate future, it is surely in the best interests of Joshua and his British promoter Eddie Hearn to set up a match with the American while the iron is still hot – or else a situation similar to the Mayweather and Pacquiao debacle might rear its ugly head once again.
Even Joshua’s record of twenty knockouts and no defeats looks measly in comparison to Wilder’s outstanding 39-0 contribution. The only non-knockout of those was his first bout against Stiverne, which lasted the distance but was heavily dominated by Wilder. The American is renown for his devastating punching power, and is the attribute that would leave Joshua’s team quaking in their boots considering the opportunities he gave Takam to strike decisive blows.
“It is the meeting with Wilder, though, which has the appeal and grandeur to make some serious money.”
Joseph Parker is another who might be meeting Joshua in the ring next year, and the New Zealander was not complimentary of the Brit’s efforts in Cardiff. He had noticed a ‘robotic’ style with a ‘very slow jab’, which the smaller man claimed has furthered his excitement at the chance of facing him next year. Tyson Fury, though his mouth remains as talkative as ever, has the issue of a drugs ban to contend with in his chase of what he calls ‘the biggest fight in British boxing history’. It is the meeting with Wilder, though, which has the appeal and grandeur to make some serious money. 2018 could well be the making of Anthony Joshua – watch this space.