Anthony Joshua has again threatened to target Carlos Takam’s body as he plots to fight “in a phone box”.
The IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight champion will be four-and-a-half inches taller than his late-notice opponent Takam this weekend in Cardiff, having initially prepared to fight the much rangier Kubrat Pulev.
“I’m going to stand in front of [Takam] and chop his tree down because that’s what he does,” Joshua exclusively told Sky Sports.
“A fighter like him wants to get on the inside and work you around the body. I can’t keep punching straight if a fighter is on my chest, so I need to work on my inside game and stand in a phone box. Those fights come down to will, heart and whoever wants it more.
“He disheartens you. Imagine throwing your best shots and they are still in front of you. It’s disheartening. To do that for 12 rounds takes a lot of energy so sometimes I’ll have to stand in front of him, trade with him, and go to war. I need to break his will, to break his heart.
“Takam keeps on coming, keeps on coming. He works the body well and loves a left hook. I already thought he was a game, well-rounded fighter so what is going to happen when he comes here and has everything to take home with him? I’ll see an improved Takam.”
Cameroon-born Takam has been stopped just once in 39 fights, by Alexander Povetkin, and the durable challenger was compared to a “block of cement” by Joshua last week.
The world heavyweight champion said: “With Pulev it wasn’t about whipping him around the body, it was about staying off the line and boxing down the middle. Carlos is different – he can trade down the middle. My speed will beat his combinations. A good way to beat Carlos is to take his body out, that’s what Povetkin did to him.”
Joshua added: “[Takam] moves around a lot, and boxes well. As the rounds start going on he likes to trade, and throw hooks on the inside.
“I’ve had sparring partners who have tried to knock me out, and I’ve had to dig in and give them some body shots. So my inside game has definitely improved. If we stand on the inside and start trading, it will be entertaining.”
Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken confirmed they would revamp his final sparring sessions by bringing in training partners who would replicate Takam’s physique. McCracken said: “Anthony is good against shorter opponents, anyway.”
Joshua is planning “at least” one world title unification fight in 2018, his promoter Eddie Hearn said, but is still wary of his mandatory responsibilities.
WBC champion Deontay Wilder and his WBO equivalent Joseph Parker remain the key targets for next year but Joshua is awaiting details of the challengers to his WBA and IBF belts.
Luis Ortiz was Joshua’s WBA mandatory challenger until a failed drug test caused him to be suspended, leaving that position shrouded in doubt.
“That’s for the WBA to decide,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “Ortiz is banned for six months. It would be unusual for a fighter to fail a drug test, be banned for six months, then come back as a mandatory challenger. But we have to wait and see.
“The problem is that we’ll decide our next fight in November when Ortiz will not be available.”
Pulev, whose position as IBF mandatory has been passed onto Takam, could work himself back into long-term contention.
“Pulev will be reinstated into the rankings then the IBF will call a final eliminator with the first two available,” Hearn said.
“I think they will call the mandatory soon after AJ-Takam. There will be a nine-month cycle with another mandatory.”
That time span will afford Joshua the opportunity to “possibly” undertake a unification fight next if he gets past Takam, but a voluntary defence of his existing belts is likelier.
“The plan for AJ is to box three times next year,” said Hearn.