Joshua: Takam harder to KO than Pulev

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SHEFFIELD — Anthony Joshua says he believes substitute opponent Carlos Takam will be harder to knock out than Kubrat Pulev.

IBF-WBA titleholder Joshua, 28, insists he is unfazed by the late change of opponent after the Bulgarian Pulev pulled out Monday because of a right shoulder injury suffered in sparring at his Berlin training base.

But Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had Takam on standby, and he stepped in on 12 days’ notice for the Oct. 28 fight at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

“In terms of style of opponent, he’s definitely harder to knock out,” Joshua told reporters at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, where he trains.

“He’s incredibly durable. His style means he’s harder to knock out. 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’.

“Remember Takam has fought [Alexander] Povetkin, [Michael] Grant, [Mike] Perez, [Joseph] Parker, [Frans] Botha. He 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.

“But he’s definitely a credible opponent and we can’t take our eye off the prize.”

Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs), 36, is ranked No. 3 by the IBF and will count as Joshua’s IBF mandatory defence. He registered two wins since losing by unanimous decision to the now-WBO title holder Joseph Parker in May 2016.

Joshua had successful world title defences against Americans Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina before a thrilling encounter with Wladimir Klitschko last April.

And it was after stopping Breazeale in the seventh round at the O2 Arena in south London in June 2016 that Joshua first met Takam, who promptly told the champion he wanted to fight him.

“After I fought at the O2 once, Takam waited at my hotel in reception and said to me ‘I want to fight you’,” Joshua said.

“I said ‘I’ve already had a fight’. I swear. It was 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.

“These fighters are now watching me, so Takam will definitely know my strengths and weaknesses. Styles makes fights. It would be silly of me to underestimate him for any reason.

“I think that’s the mindset of anyone who fights because he’s in hostile territory with a lot of people who are not there to support him, so he will think ‘what have I got to lose?’. This is his golden ticket to shock the world.”

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