Anthony Joshua, the IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight world champion, has revealed how upcoming opponent Carlos Takam followed him to his hotel after his bout with Dominic Breazeale in 2016 to demand a title opportunity of his own.
Takam will replace the injured Kubrat Pulev in the title fight on October 28 at the Principality Stadium in Wales, and Joshua told reporters how badly the 36-year-old wanted the fight in 2016, per Daily Mirror's David Anderson:
"After I fought at The O2, Takam waited at my hotel and said to me, 'I want to fight you!' I said, 'I've already had a fight'. I swear, that's what he did!
"It was after the Breazeale fight. He came to the fight, then waited for me in reception. I knew who he was.
"He's a big unit—22 stone. That shows these fighters are now watching me, so Takam will know my strengths and weaknesses."
He also weighed in on the task at hand:
"In terms of style of opponent, he's definitely harder to knock out because he's incredibly durable.
"It's not all about your Twitter followers—that doesn't make you a good fighter. People say this person would have been a better fight because he's well known."
Per the report, promoter Eddie Hearn put Takam on standby seven weeks ago. The IBF ranks the 36-year-old, who was born in Cameroon, as its No. 3 fighter. Pulev sits in second.
Takam isn't a well-known fighter among casual fans of the sport, and his resume isn't impressive. He lost a unanimous decision against rising star Joseph Parker in 2016 and was stopped by Alexander Povetkin in 2014.
He has won his last two fights by stoppage and has a reputation as a durable fighter. He was the first man to really test Parker, and lasted until the 10th round before Povetkin finished the fight.
Tom Craze of Bad Left Hook sees Pulev and Takam as opponents of a similar level:
Joshua was expected to easily beat Pulev, and things won't be any different against Takam. Joshua's real tests will likely come in 2018, with Parker and Deontay Wilder looming.