Anthony Joshua retained his two heavyweight title belts in Cardiff on 28 October but in a far from convincing performance.
Many people in the Principality Stadium felt that referee Phil Edwards had acted prematurely in stopping strong opponent Carlos Takam in the tenth round.
Joshua had thrown everything at the super-sub with the tank-like physique and granite chin, but he was beginning to tire. It was then when Edwards stepped in to bring the fight to a close, much to Takam’s fury.
Joshua who is fast becoming a superstar, now has a record which reads: 20 fights, 20 stoppages.
This was far from perfect, and the 28-year-old took great risks at times, exposing himself to counter punches. Critics cited that this behaviour could cost the Briton in fights against the likes of WBC champion Deontay Wilder. He will know he has much to work on.
In the second round, Joshua had his nose broken by Takam’s forehead. He recovered by the fourth, ensuring that Takam goes through a standing count after being knocked down by a left hook.
The punch opened a nasty cut above Takam’s right eye. He was twice inspected by the ringside physician before it was all over.
Respect to Takam
When it was finished, Joshua addressed the 80,000 crowd, looking forward while paying due respect to his opponent.
“I didn’t have control of it, it was the ref’s decision [to stop the fight]. Respect to Takam. He was like Evander Holyfield, ducking down, popping up.”
Takam, his face bloody and cut, was a warrior to the last and he was deeply vexed by the stoppage.
“I don’t know why the referee stopped the match,” Takam said. “I respect the champion and the UK fans, they are great fans and I am happy to box here. I don’t know why they stopped it.”
The debate will continue for some time. The bravery of Takam was not in doubt. Joshua hit him, a lot, and hard, but he took it. Could he have taken a bit more punishment? Probably yes. Was he likely to win the fight? Probably not.