Anthony Joshua was taken to the 10th round before stopping the durable Carlos Takam and retaining his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles in front of an estimated 75,000 fans in Cardiff on Saturday.
The referee moved in to stop the fight after Joshua caught Takam with a hook-uppercut combination and was moving in to land more blows. The Frenchman shook his head in disgust and many in the crowd jeered the decision.
At the end of an uncomfortable evening for Joshua, during which he might have broken his nose through a second-round clash of heads, the British boxer earned a 20th straight win that likely set him up for a unification fight in 2018 with either WBO champion Joseph Parker or WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Takam was fighting at 12 days’ notice – as an injury replacement for Kubrat Pulev – and lived up to his reputation as a tough opponent, absorbing big shots by Joshua and making himself tough to hit with his movement. Takam took an eight count in the fourth round after toppling from a left hook by Joshua, and fought on with a cut above his right eye that twice required treatment.
Joshua was taken beyond seven rounds for only the second time in his pro career. The other time was the 11-round fight against Wladimir Klitschko in April.
“I was trying to break him down round by round,” Joshua said. “Unfortunately, the ref stopped it. I think people want to see Takam unconscious on the floor. That was where I was trying to get to. I don’t have control over the ref’s decision.”
While Joshua’s future fights will provide bigger pay days, here is what we expect from this bout:
What is the estimated fight purse?
The two fighters will be fighting for a combined total of around £11million. Total fight revenues will be bigger than this figure.
It will be around 90/10 in Joshua’s favour, meaning Joshua can be expected to earn £10million and Carlos Takam £750,000.
Cameroon-born Carlos Takam (L) complains to referee Phil Edwards after being cut in the fourth round against Britain’s Anthony Joshua (back) during their world Heavyweight title fight at The Principality Stadium in Cardiff
How does that compare to other fights?
This fight will not be in the same league as Joshua’s last fight, nor others from the year so far.
Joshua’s last fight, the epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko, saw both fighters take home at least £15million each.
Mayweather and McGregor won earned a minimum of £100million and £30million from their August bout.