The next step in Anthony Joshua’s path to world domination is a sideways one, really, after original opponent – and mandatory challenger – Kubrat Pulev pulled out of their planned meeting with a shoulder injury.
In his void steps Carlos Takam, the self-styled ‘Boogeyman’, who will be looking to cause AJ a scare just three days prior to Halloween at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
It’s not a fight that particularly gets the juices flowing, but it does offer Joshua a chance to show off his skills in front of another sell-out crowd – and do decent PPV numbers via the box office – without really being tested by a durable but limited opponent.
From a betting perspective, perhaps the greater intrigue comes from a packed undercard put together by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable. There should be a few handsome victories for his young up-and-coming starlets, but there also looks to be scope for one or two shock results too.
Here’s a look at the full card for Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam on October 28th 2017:
Olympians Set to Show Their Class
The show starts at 5pm UK time with a trio of British Olympians – Lawrence Okolie, Josh Buatsi and Khalid Yafai – set to strut their stuff in front of the 60,000 crowd.
Okolie should kick proceedings off in fine style. ‘The Sauce’, as he is known, represented Team GB in Rio in the heavyweight division, but has since turned pro in the cruiserweight category – a move which suits his rangy style. The 24-year-old boasts the perfect 5-0 record and has only once gone past the first round mark, meaning that he has won 4/5 by KO including a 20 second knockout in his professional fight.
Joshua Buatsi, like Okolie, has fought on the undercard of some huge bouts already in his fledgling career, so he won’t be fazed by fighting in such a large arena as this. He is managed by Joshua, and like his gaffer boasts a perfect record: two wins from two, both by knockout. Less of a powerhouse than Okolie, Buatsi is a technical light heavyweight who looks set to go a long way in the game.
Khalid Yafai’s career is slightly more advanced than the latter pair: he’s held the WBA super-flyweight title for the best part of a year. He has a perfect 22-0 record to his name, with 14 knockouts and eight wins on points, and his last fight with Suguru Muranaka was a cracking contest. On Saturday Yafai defends his WBA crown against Muranaka’s Japanese countryman, Sho Ishida, and he will have one eye on unifying the division in 2018.
This British trio are priced at odds of 1/100, 1/100 and 1/20 respectively with the bookmakers, and that perhaps tells its own story as to their chances.
White Rhino in Danger of Extinction
David Allen is one of the more engaging fighters around. An affable, likeable chap, Allen is quick to point out his failings in the ring and his battles with his weight.
— Kevin Ryder (@thekevinryder) March 5, 2017
But all of that does the White Rhino a disservice; he is a decent heavyweight on his day.
Allen has three losses on his record, and while two of those were against a pair of the best operators around in Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz, the third was a gut-wrenching defeat to the very ordinary Lenroy Thomas.
Allen was supposed to get his rematch on the AJ undercard, but Thomas failed to make his flight from Jamaica and so Scott Saward, a 6ft 8in bruiser, has been drafted in as a late replacement with just two days notice.
YouTube footage suggests that Saward is a come-forward fighter with a decent jab and surprisingly good foot movement for a big lad, and Allen really could have his work cut out taming this rookie.
We expect Allen to be in good shape – he would have had revenge on his mind against Thomas – but how has this late replacement affected his psychology? A couple of quid on Saward may not be the worst wager you ever place.
Will it Be All Whyte on the Night for the Bodysnatcher?
For most boxing fans, Dillian Whyte came to prominence just prior to his bad-blood bout with Anthony Joshua, in which he put in a decent performance before being retired in the seventh round.
Most were expecting that fight to be his springboard to bigger things, but Whyte’s career since has frustratingly stalled. A couple of non-event wins have sandwiched a titanic tussle with Dereck Chisora; a fight of the year contender for sure, but one which many onlookers felt Chisora had won.
Whyte got the verdict on points, and he has waited patiently for his chance to start climbing the heavyweight rankings with a ‘name’ on his CV.
And he might just get it on Saturday courtesy of Robert Helenius, a huge unit from Sweden who is a former European champion.
Helenius has a decent 25-1 record but has never fought outside of the territories he considers home in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Estonia, so this is a huge test for him and one he recognises he has to take in order to move up to the next level.
The Swede has height and reach advantage here, and he could well make life very difficult for Whyte, who has a habit of getting visibly frustrated when things aren’t going is way.
The bookmakers have this down as a one-sided contest with Whyte at 1/5 and Helenius 9/2. But be under no illusions the latter is no mug, and Whyte may need the judges to come to his rescue. So back the Bodysnatcher to get the win by way of points at 11/4.