Joshua stops Takam in the 10th to retain belts

Anthony Joshua retained his WBA ‘super’ and IBF heavyweight titles in Cardiff on Saturday with a 10th-round stoppage win over Carlos Takam.

Joshua gradually wore down the Cameroonian during a brutal battle that saw the champion suffer a suspected broken nose early on while Takam was left bloody from a nasty cut before the Brit earned his 20th straight knockout win.

Takam was only fighting on 12 days notice following the later withdrawal of the injured Kubrat Pulev, but the France-based challenger displayed his renowned fighting qualities as he forced Joshua into a battle of attrition.

A nasty clash of heads in the second round saw Takam leave Joshua with a badly bloodied nose, although the champion replied well with a big left hook.

Takam responded with a big left of his own in the third, but Joshua was undeterred and continued to look to land big shots, opening up a serious cut above Takam’s right eye in the fourth with a nice flurry of punches that left the challenger wobbling.

Referee Phil Edwards spoke to Takam’s corner at the end of the round, before the tough African opted to fight on.

Joshua dished out more punishment in the fifth, opening up the cut even more, before a huge uppercut in the sixth left Takam in trouble, but somehow he managed to struggle through.

Takam’s face was a mess, but his heart was unbuckled as he hurt Joshua with two right hands in the seventh, the English fighter replying with a big right hand at the bell.

The Londoner continued to find success in the eighth with some body shots, but the 36-year-old Takam refused to be defeated, trading blows with the champion in the ninth round.

The brutal encounter finally came to an end in the 10th after Joshua hurt Takam with a big uppercut and then left him reeling with a straight right hand as the referee jumped in to end the fight despite Takam’s refusal to go down.

“It was a good fight until the ref stopped it. I have the utmost respect for Takam,” said Joshua, who will now look to unify belts with a fight against WBC champion Deontay Wilder or WBO title holder Joseph Parker.

In another fight in Cardiff, Kal Yafai retained his WBA world super-flyweight title in a tough contest against Japan’s Sho Ishida.

The Brit won a unanimous points decision of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 against Ishida, who entered the contest with 24 wins from 24 fights.

Yafai remains undefeated after 23 fights.