Anthony Joshua is expected to brush aside late stand-in Carlos Takam when defending his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles in Cardiff on Saturday night.
Mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev was forced to pull out after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring, giving 36-year-old Frenchman Takam the chance to step up.
Having become world champion with a second-round demolition of Charles Martin and stopping Eric Molina in round three of his second defence, Joshua will be keen to enjoy another early night.
We’re splitting our stakes between round three at 5/1 and round four at 5/1 in our Joshua vs Takam betting tips.
The 28-year-old Briton certainly deserves a routine win after coming through an epic encounter with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April, climbing off the canvas to send the Ukrainian veteran into retirement in round 11.
Lighter Joshua to be ‘extra fast, with extra spite’
AJ is expected to weigh up to a stone lighter this time and a greater emphasis on speed should allow him to quickly get on top of Takam.
“Josh is hitting very hard,” promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports. “You’re going to see him extra fast, with extra spite. As far as I’m concerned, the most exciting fighter in world boxing is ready to do the business.
“He knows about Takam and I think when he’s started to analyse it, he was quite excited, because I think he felt the Pulev fight would be quite fiddly, whereas Josh likes to have a tear-up.
“I think you are going to get that against Takam because he’s going to come out and he’s going to let his hands go.”
Takam expected to be game, but outgunned
Cameroon-born Takam is a 10/1 underdog, having previously lost to WBO champion Joseph Parker, Russia’s Alexander Povetkin and the little-known Gregory Tony.
The substitute, who is shorter yet rangier than Pulev, did more than match Parker in the middle rounds before fading from the eighth onwards to be outpointed.
“Takam has fought some good people but maybe because he’s not so active on social media, the general public might not know much about him,” commented Joshua.
“He’s a credible opponent and we can’t take our eye off the prize. He is not going to come in and lie down in the first round. He will think ‘what have I got to lose?’ This is his golden ticket to shock the world.”
Takam is an honest pro whose only stoppage loss came in 10 rounds against Povetkin in Moscow two years ago.
However, that reversal against Parker exposed his limitations, with the Kiwi failing to impress when only just beating Hughie Fury in Manchester last month.
We’re expecting Joshua to take a couple of rounds to size up his new opponent but then up the tempo and blow him away.
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