Carl Frampton reborn but relieved

CFrampton


Carl Frampton returned to competitive action after 10 months away from the sport. It was also his first fight since his unblemished record was tarnished, losing to Leo Santa Cruz in a majority decision. In the build up Frampton spoke of how he did not obviously show his disappointment obviously in the ring after the fight the defeat had seriously affected him. If you thought he might ease himself back into action to dust off some ring rust with a lower level fighter you would have been mistaken.

Frampton took on experienced Mexican Horacio Garcia. At 27 years of age he had fought 37 times before his encounter with Frampton. While recent fights had not gone his way he remained a threat to the returning former 2 weight champion.

‘The Jackal’ got the better of Garcia over the distance the fight could have been completely different if it was extended by 2 rounds.

Looking sharp early Frampton found his range almost instantly and landed big shots on his opponent. He was on his toes and moved away from the Mexican, who had Canelo Alvarez at ringside to cheer him on. Frampton looked good, as if he had not been away. Making Garcia follow him around and making him look sluggish and flat footed at times.

As the fight moved on into the middle rounds things began to change. Frampton slowed down and started getting pinned up against the ropes, exactly where he did not want to be. Garcia started letting flurries go and Frampton’s legs were unable to move him out of trouble. It was not a case of ‘the Jackal’ wanting to get into a war, he had no choice. He knew it was turning into Garcia’s type of fight and he did not have the energy to do anything to stop it.

Jamie Moore now in Frampton’s corner emphasised the importance of moving and using the jab to the body but in the later round the Northern Irish fighter had to rely on instincts. And he certainly delivered. Parts of Frampton were tested that we rarely get to see. His ability, preparation and game plan are usually so tight that he does not have his engine and desire tested. He dug in and when the chips were down he hung on for the win.

His temperament was also thrown under the microscope. In the 7th round he slipped but due to a punch being landed on the way down it had to be scored a knock-down. He initially threw his hands up and claimed he slipped but that was all. Soon he was back to his feet and trying to steady the ship. It felt that this may make the fight close going down the stretch but in the end it was not important. Frampton won on all 3 judges scorecards; the closest by 3 and the widest by 5. The final card had him winning by 4 points.

Coming through this will have got rid of the worries that were present after his loss to Santa Cruz. Now Frampton wants one of the champions.

“It was a good fight for the fans. I boxed well for the first few rounds but then got myself caught up in a fight. I wanted a hard fight for my comeback and that’s what I got. The rust is off, the cobwebs are gone and now I want to fight one of the big guys.” (Carl Frampton)

The trilogy fight with Santa Cruz is on the cards but there are domestic fighters who will want a piece of Frampton. Lee Selby fights next month and holds the IBF featherweight title. A fight between the pair has been predicted for some time. The one people want to see though is the trilogy fight with Santa Cruz. Another British boxing classic could be on the card if Frampton decides to take on Scott Quigg again or Josh Warrington. The other champions at featherweight are Gary Russel Jr and Oscar Valdez who hold the WBC and WBO respectively. While all those fighters have fights scheduled another possible opponent Abner Mares could step in to face Frampton.

This fight answered a lot of questions for Frampton. He is back and looks great. A changed of team and promoter could be exactly what the 30 year old needs to reinvigerate his career. Coming back in such a tough fight will advance his preperaton for a title fight greatly. 2018 is set to be a huge year for ‘the Jackal’.

Also on the card Jamie Conlan was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in the 6th round as he attempted to win the IBF World super flyweight title. Paddy Barnes moved to 5-0 and recorded his first professional stoppage to claim the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title against Eliecer Quezada.


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UFC 217 – A night for the underdogs

3NewChamps


The most anticipated night for fight fans across the world has been and gone. It did not disappoint that is for sure. A card stacked with top quality fights headed up by 3 world title fights provided non stop action and enough drama to satisfy UFC fans for the rest of the year. Georges St-Pierre’s return after a 4 year absence was the main draw. He faced off against Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt. Ex Team Alpha Male team mates Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw battled it out for the right to be called the bantamweight champion of the world. The third title fight was in the women’s strawweight division pitting Polish champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk against Rose Namajunas. It was a night that would see silverware change hands regularly.


Rose Namajunas Def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via KO in round 1 

As Joe Rogan said on commentary, who would have thought Namajunas would have knocked out Jedrzejczyk who was widely considered the best female fighter in the UFC. Namajunas is a submission specialist and many believed if she was going to cause an upset she would make the champion submit. She landed a heavy left hook to score her second knockdown of the fight in the first round. She piled on the pressure and the champion had no response. It appeared that Jedrzejczyk tapped from the punches landing on her from the challenger.

Namajunas was cool during the build up and even cooler in the ring. As a huge underdog with bookmakers she was available at 9/2 while the champion was 1/6. She took everything in her stride and with the quality of opponent in front of her shows how good her mindset is. Even after the win she was calm, no adrenaline infused celebrations, just a calm gracious attitude which will surely grow her fan base.The future is bright for ‘Thug Rose’ as she is still only 25 years of age.

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It was not just the bookies who were favouring Jedrzejczyk it was the wider MMA comunity as well. A rematch is certainly on the card and the ex champion has already signalled her intent to set the record straight.

“I must sit and talk to Dana and the UFC. I think I’ve been a good athlete and good champion for the UFC. That’s it. I think I deserve the rematch, if I will not get the rematch, we’ll see. I want my belt back and that’s the thing, it’s probably going to be the biggest goal right now to get my belt back because s**t happens everywhere, so it was a mistake, it was a big surprise.” (Joanna Jedrzejczyk)

‘The Boogeywoman’ went on to say that it was not a lucky punch and that Namajunas had a great game plan. The rematch is the logical option for both women and with Jedrzejczyk being brought back to earth expect a closer fight next time.


TJ Dillashaw Def. Cody Garbrandt via KO in round 2

The build up to this fight was electric. Crosswords, tension on the Ultimate Fighter series and former friendships really made the run up to the fight sizzle. The action delivered as well. After such a fantastic build up it is sometimes an anti-climax when it comes to the fight.

The first round was slow. Garbrandt stalking his opponent waiting for him to make errors coming forward so he could land a massive shot to end the contest. Dillashaw moving around the octagon and looking loose trying to connect with a kick to his opponents head. When the two came together it was frantic. Garbrandt landed a huge right hand inside the last 10 seconds of the round and totally floored TJ.

Dillashaw will be grateful it landed so late. The punch landing 30 seconds earlier could have been a win for the champion.

TJ recovered and proceeded with caution in the second. A wild kick missed and Garbrandt show boated, which now looks foolish. But at the time he was in control. Moving out of distance as TJ came forward and letting his fast hands go when the chance presented itself.

The dynamic of the fight changed when TJ landed a high kick right on the sweet spot of his opponents head. Garbrandt went down and was clearly shaken. Then later in the round the two came together and TJ was able to land the killer blow. Flooring Garbrandt TJ pounced and ended the contest loading up shots on his grounded opponent.

After all the animosity in the build up the two came together and were respectful to each other. That was after somebody in TJ’s camp shouted something which caused Garbrandt to react. It was quickly forgotten and a handshake between the two represented a huge moment in the rivalry.

What next? TJ wants to go down and fight Demetrious Johnson. He still has unfinished business in his current weight division. A close defeat against Dominick Cruz, which saw TJ lose the belt in January 2016 means that a rematch must be on the agenda. However, down the road the rematch with Garbrandt will happen. The pair are evenly matched and with Garbrandt only being 26 he is still well and truly on the bantamweight radar.

https://twitter.com/Cody_Nolove/status/927028466041663489


Georges St-Pierre Def. Michael Bisping via submission (rear naked choke) in round 3

What a way to end the night! Going into the fight the odds were against GSP. He started well and put Bisping on the back foot. Then he was cut open as Bisping landed viscous strikes and elbows on the ground from the bottom. A left hook dropped Bisping and as GSP put the pressure on before retreating slightly he was able to take Bisping’s back and put him to sleep. The momentum of the fight swung between each fighter and it really entertained.

It was the perfect way to round off the night with the third world title changing hands. Bisping humble in defeat congratulated the new champion and after all the words exchange the respect was obvious. GSP back and it seems he is here to stay. He looked strong and quick at 185 but questions will be raised about his stamina as he seemed to become tired in the second round.

History made and a legacy enhanced. What next for GSP? Robert Whittaker in Australia looks like the next step and defending the title will even further cement GSP’s legendary status. Bisping on the other hand maintains he will not call it a day. Age and now fight options play a factor in rumours he is finished. He still has enough in him for a couple more fights but does he want it?


UFC 217 delivered that is 100% true. The title fights were the main highlight but the prelims and undercard was also good viewing.

The option for rematches are open to all the title fights and the level of fighters involved it is no impossible that the all the titles could return to the losers at this event. The event certainly helped the reputation of the company. With Conor McGregor off the scene for sometime and a gap in UFC cards as he took on Floyd Mayweather hurt the reputation. With new stars emerging the UFC brand improves and the entertainment and drama on show in New York highlights the growing strength of the roster.

3 world title fights, 3 new champions – there is a lot to live up to for UFC 218. Who would bet against the organisation getting even stronger next year.


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Bisping St-Pierre showdown in New York

BisGSP


UFC legend Georges St-Pierre will return after a 4 year absence to attempt to snatch the middleweight title from English fighter Michael Bisping. The fight will see Bisping defend the belt for the third time after winning it from Luke Rockhold and defending it in Manchester against Dan Henderson. It is an interesting match up and the returning GSP, who says he is back to stay, has numerous questions over his head.

St-Pierre ,the former welterweight champion, has not fought since 2013 when he defended his title against Johny Hendricks. Later he vacated the title and said he was not going to compete for a while. GSP informed fight fans that he needed some time away from the sport so he could recharge. He was one of the best fighters in his time in the UFC and had a strong following. He will be hoping to return to glory with a victory over Bisping.

Can GSP step back in and be as magnificent as he was? It is a tough ask for the Canadian as no matter how hard you train and how much you spar nothing replicates being under the pressure of fighting in the octagon. Bisping has been active in the 4 years GSP has been away. The champion has fought 5 times and won all of his bouts while GSP has been away. The sharpness of GSP will be vital and if he cannot settle quickly Bisping will be able to take control.

The key to this fight is who can implement their style. Bisping is happier on his feet and if he can stop GSP taking the fight to the ground it will be a successful night for the Englishman. Bisping has relentless stand up skills and will not stop until he lands a knockout shot. If GSP can get the fight to the ground it will be a different story. Bisping struggles when taken down and with his opponents elite ground game he could be in serious danger.

While GSP weighed in at 184.4 pounds to Bisping’s 184.6 size is a huge factor. GSP is moving up from 170 to middleweight and it shows. Bisping is slightly taller but is comfortable at the weight. It is the champions natural weight and the challenger is moving up. Again GSP can negate this by securing a take down which would remove all of Bisping’s strengths.

The build up has been a good watch. Bisping has been outspoken and verging on arrogant. Instead of respecting what GSP has done he has questioned why he has come back and why he has returned at a higher weight. His game plan is to get under the skin of the returning fighter and put him on the back foot before they come face to face on fight night. GSP has been relaxed, nothing has angered him to any extreme and, as you would expect with all his experience, he has taken everything in his stride.

When it is all said and done fight fans are being treated to a truly unique encounter. A legend returning to competition against a fighter with a great record and will be regarded as one of the greats when he does call it a day.

Who will win? Bisping is the favourite. Everything is in his favour physically and momentum is with him. But anything can happen. Especially with a fighter as special as GSP in the octagon. If he can take Bisping out of his comfort zone he could cause an upset.


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Michael Bisping should retire if he beats GSP



Arguably the most exciting card of the year is upon us. UFC 217 is here and it is stacked with huge clashes. 3 title fights will be taking place with fighters who come with a reputation of entertaining fights! Watching the prelims and under card match ups can be extremely entertaining as they can be much more engaging than the pre-main event fights in any boxing match up.

So on to the main event of the evening. The huge middleweight match up between long time veteran and current middleweight champ, Michael Bisping and former welterweight champion George’s St-Pierre.

This has all the qualities to be the fight of the night, even when you include the Gardbrant vs Dillashaw feud and all the bad blood that goes with it.

If you are a GSP fan then this blog is not going to be for you! Bisping has had a colourful career and his story is an interesting one. It is good to see that he has not only won the belt but successfully defended it against many tough opponents. He will win this fight, it will not be easy but he will win and not via a decision. But via a brutal knockout.

Watching Bisping fight is like watching a Rocky film, he keeps getting put down but just wont stop getting back up. The heart this guy has is colossal and we have seen him overcome adversity time and time again.

The only way GSP can win this fight is a submission which given GSP’s huge success in take down attempts is not impossible.

So what if Bisping wins?

Retire, he needs to retire. Why? Here is your answer.

Age

He is 38 years old and the type of fights he finds himself in do not exactly embody the art of ‘hit but don’t get hit’. He is in some absolute wars and why would you want to take on that kind of punishment any further as you approach your 40’s

What more does he have to prove? 

He has had a very good career and can finish it on his terms whilst at the top of the pile. This is a great match up and besides a Tyron Woodley fight there is not much more out their for him and given that Woodley’s last 3 fights have been the equivalent of bed time stories. Do not bank on that fight being made. Perhaps a third fight with Luke Rockhold or  match up against Yoel Romero but the end should come after beating GSP. Beating GSP will speak volumes a thousand decibels higher than beating any of those other fighters.

Motivation

What will wake him up in the morning so that he can endure a gruelling and punishing training regiment to fight? Especially when the fights that would seem as a step back in terms of a challenger. He definitely does not need the money, he regularly features on UFC commentary and analysis, he has a successful podcast and he also has a somewhat growing movie career.

So what happens if he loses?

He may take 1 or 2 more fights, 1 possibly being a rematch with GSP depending how good the fight is! Ultimately remaining healthy is the key along with retaining all his faculties and going out on a high. Every fighter wants to go out on top and a win over GSP would be a monumental high for Bisping.


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Wilder to handle business and move on to bigger fights

Bronze Bomber


American heayweight king Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC world title against Bermane Stiverne in Brooklyn. The pair have shared the ring before when the roles were reversed. Stiverne entered the bout the champion on the previous occasion. While Wilder was able to take the belt it remains the only minor blemish on his record. The first fight is the only fight in ‘the Bronze Bombers’ pro career he has not won by stoppage. Wilder will be looking to put the icing on the cake and stop Stivirne this time around.

Wilder has been involved in 38 professional fights and scored an incredible 37 knockouts. In fact the first match up against Stivirne was the first time the Alabama native was pushed past 4 rounds. It marked a step up in opponent for the best heavyweight in America and since then he has had more difficult nights than he did before. It is a similar scenario to his British rival Anthony Joshua. They were completely dominant in the early stages of their career but now the standard has increased their victories have been more hard fought. However, they both keep winning.

Stiverne vs Wilder I

The first fight was interesting. Wilder struggled in patches but the result was emphatic and he ran out a clear winner. Winning the fight by unanimous decision the judges scorecards read; 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107. The decision was widely based on the amount of punches each man threw.

Wilder was busier throwing 621 punches and landing 227 over the 36 minute contest. By contrast Stiverne threw 327 landing 110. The success rates were closer with Wilder landing 37% of his shots and Stiverne landing 34%. Stiverne caused Wilder some problems but the then challenger came through everything he had to and caused his opponent just as many issues.

Stiverne to be more active?

It is quite clear that if Stiverne wants to wrestle his title back from Wilder he will need to throw more punches this time around. If he can put his foot down on the accelerator if Wilder is again flustered he could win. But he has to get him on the back foot again which will be difficult.

With Stiverne aware to the fact he needs to throw more he will find himself with problems he did not last time. Stamina could be an issue if he is outputting more energy for attacks. He will leave himself more open if he comes forward more and with the power Wilder possess he could be laid out. Even though he had some success last time it needs to be a completely different game plan.

Wilder gunning for the KO?

Wilder has successfully defended his title 5 times since beating Stiverne. All have been good victories against solid fighters. The rematch with Stiverne is an interesting one for him and puts him in a different place mentally. Fighting the same man and the only man he has not been able to finish inside the distance in his pro career will test his head.

Will he over commit and go for the KO to prove himself? Will he be patient and willing to go the distance or pick him off late? He must get his stratergy right this time as Stiverne is tough and the best opponent he has ever faced. It is a good test for ‘the Bronze Bomber’ and puts new hurdles in his path.

The weigh in

Sparks flew at the weigh in as the pair came face to face. Wilder was animated and was predicting a knockout. Who would put it passed him with the immense power he carries. The knockouts on his record have stacked up and his reputation as a heavy hitter needs no explaining.

Stiverne said that Wilder was a ‘camera boy’ basically suggesting he is all talk. It is hard to see were Stiverne is going with that one but it was clear that the pair had an intense dislike for one and other.

What does the future hold?

Wilder is expected to win. Stiverne has not competed in 2 years and to come back in against an elite fighter is a tough ask. Wilder was scheduled to fight Luis Ortiz which would have been a fantastic fight and one that could have put an even bigger name on Wilder’s record. The Cuban heavyweight was forced to pull out after he tested positive for banned substances.

If Wilder does retain his belt he will feel the need to add some serious top level names to his record to emphasise his greatness. The one everybody around the world would like to see is Wilder against Joshua. Both men are dominant in their countries and hold 3 of the 4 world titles. A tough encounter to call it would be the biggest boxing match up in years.

Unlike Joshua Wilder does not have a name the size of Wladimir Klitschko on his record. But there are very few heavyweights who have that status in world boxing. A fight against a previous opponent of Joshua may wet the appetite for boxing fans as it does not feel that the time for the two to clash is right just yet. Perhaps his latest opponent Carlos Takam could go in against Wilder and see if he can push the WBC champ as far as he pushed Joshua.

An interesting fight would be Wilder facing Dillian Whyte. Whyte was beaten by AJ but really put some pressure on his opponent in the build up and in the ring. Whyte wants the fight and has made the fact he wants it public. Wilder is not as keen making ludicrous financial demands to make the fight happen. Wilder has made it clear that he wants one man from England.

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@eddiehearn bro let's not play around here, We both know who I want from England, you told me a while back at the WBC convention that your main man was next remember? So why have you been trying to throw your cocka roaches in with me. First it was Bellew and now it's your dirty cunt @dillianwhyte man come on. I tell you what… Make that offer of 3 million into 7 million and on OUR terms. Oh it's going to cost you to change my plans of what we about to do up and NO it's not on YOUR terms. How you go come with a offer of 3 million and want things on your terms too? The last time I checked I was the damn CHAMP! When I bet the horse shit out your stray doggy, (Animal Farm) I'm AGAIN not going to GAIN any credit or anything from anybody for beating his ass whatsoever; After this beat down from TTown, They will call him a Bum too let's face it and the world knows this. Fans really just want to see me back in the ring that's why they entertaining this bullshit. @dillianwhyte is a crush dummy at best, he's designed to well you know!?! "Fucking Crush" Every fighter wants to fight for titles over and over again, shit some guys never see a first time and y'all want another shot with 3M + term too? Get the fuck out of here. Hey I would love to fuck him up as bad and as bloody as I will do and take that money too EZ. So sleep on them nuts and come back with an open mind and a new heart because the CHAMP don't like this fuckery. "I SWEAR TO GOD IM GOING TO CATCH A BODY FROM ONE OF THIS CABBAGES IN THIS SPORT SOON, MARK MY WORDS"… #BombZquad #DeathRow #FixTheLeakage #IfYourRidingWithMeThenLetsRide #IfNotThenKickRocks #PutSomeRespectOnMyName #UsaVsEverybody #TheRealistChampInTheBusiness

A post shared by Deontay Wilder (@bronzebomber) on

Joseph Parker is the other man to hold a world title and his style could cause Wilder some problems if the pair fight. Parker is quick and technical and could be the antidote to Wilder’s powerful flurries.

Tyson Fury has come out and has said that he wants to get back into the mix and thinks he could cement his brilliance by beating Wilder and unifying the heavyweight division again. Fury needs to get back into shape before any fights materialise but when that happens you would not bet against him with his unique and awkward style.

There is a wealth of prospects for all the top heavyweights. It seems as if all of them are on a collision course and the boxing community is in for a real treat in 2018 and further.

First of all Wilder needs to do his job and retain against Stiverne. He cannot look beyond this opponent as he has ability and heart that could derail Wilder moving forward. If Wilder is at his best he will win and more than likely get the stoppage this time around. Any signs of complacency could cost him. If this bout is as good as the last one we are in for a treat!


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Tough night for Joshua but brighter times ahead

AJ20-0-0


It would be easy for Anthony Joshua to argue preparation was not on his side in the wake of his tenth round stoppage of Carlos Takam. After months of anticipation of fighting Kubrat Pulev, he was forced to adapt his approach, less than a fortnight before the bout in Cardiff and fought past Takam to retain his WBA and IBF belts. 

AJ’s Performance 

Pre-fight, AJ weighed in at the heaviest he has ever been, at 115kg. Opposite Takam’s 106.5kg, he looked much the bigger guy, yet still very lean.

However, in the ring, it could be said he looked sluggish. Against a waspish opponent in Takam, he unleashed 454 punches, of which 152 landed on the Frenchman. The heavyset Joshua set about picking away at an opponent who was two stone lighter and four and a half inches shorter than he. The heavy build of Joshua against Takam’s lean frame can perhaps attribute to his 33.5% punch success rate, where a lighter Joshua may have got the better of his opponent in earlier combat.

Indeed it took four rounds to bring Takam to the ground, and a further six before referee Phil Edwards ended the fight in a controversially premature decision.

Both had encountered blood in the heat of the battle, yet Joshua can lend an ounce of gratitude to Edwards, as his fatigue started to emerge. There were times in this contest where uncharacteristic cracks in his defence were exposed by Takam’s movement and weaving, and this fight surely would have gone the distance had Edwards not stepped in.

The encounter with Takam will need to be analysed very heavily by AJ and his camp if he is looking to unify the division. Such rash decisions may have cost him more dearly had he been in the ring with the likes of Deontay Wilder.

Who Is Next?

Joshua’s first 20 fights have seen him end the challenges of Wladmir Klitschko, Eric Molina and Dillian Whyte. All wins achieved by knockout. In doing so, he now seems to have set his sights on the bigger characters in 2018.

The WBC and WBO belts still elude Joshua, and belts that he will no doubt make an assault on in the new year. Which puts Joseph Parker, as the WBO holder, and Deontay Wilder, who possesses the WBC belt, firmly in his crosshairs.

A showdown with Parker has already been ignited from the pair’s press exchanges. At this point, it is merely respectful words as they attempt to force through a package agreement. But it gives Joshua time to reassemble after coming through the woods against Takam.

Takam himself has good reason to want to see Joshua again, clearly vexed by the manner in which his defiance against the Watford-born tank came to an end. Having gone ten rounds with Joshua on just twelve days preparation, it would interesting to see just what the 36-year-old can do with several months to assemble his arsenal.

For now, Joshua has to review a fight that was a heavy lesson in itself. He will then assess who is next to face him. For 2018, Joshua looks determined to make it his biggest.


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Tricky night or business as usual for heavyweight king Anthony Joshua?

AJ Heavy


Anthony Joshua’s rapid rise to superstardom has been a joy to watch. Ever since he won gold in the London Olympics in 2012 he has conquered all who have stood in his way. 19 professional boxers have stood in the opposite corner to the man mountain and not a single opponent has gone the distance. In Cardiff Joshua will face a different situation. Kubrat Pulev pulled out due to a shoulder injury and Carlos Takam takes his place. A change of opponent can sometimes cause problems but can the regular outcome continue for Joshua?

Physically all the advantages point to a hard night for the new opponent. Joshua comes in at his career heaviest of 254 pounds. Promoter Eddie Hearn suggested that the undefeated Brit would come in lighter than he did in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko. The thinking behind the theory is that Joshua looked too heavy and when he was hurt by Klitschko it took him longer to recover due to the extra muscle he was carrying. With AJ coming in even heavier it suggests that he feels he can blast Takam out and does not expect the fight to go deep.

By contrast Takam weighed in at 235 pounds. However, he also looked in unbelievable shape. While he may be giving away 19 pounds in weight he still carries a threat. He has claimed 27 knockouts in 35 wins and only been stopped the once by Alexander Povetkin in 2014. His last defeat came by way of unanimous decision in 2016 against Joseph Parker. Styles make fights and Takam is powerful and will certainly have a go at AJ.

The difference in weight is understandable when you look at the difference in height between the fighters. Joshua holds a 5 inch height advantage. He has the option to use that in the early stages if there are any thoughts that Takam could cause him problems. Given the way Joshua usually operates he may not give his opponent that chance. At heavyweight any mistake is costly and with Joshua’s power and boxing skills he will want to get the job done as soon as possible.

Takam and Pulev are completely different fighters. Pulev is more technical due to his vast experience at amateur level. Takam is more physical and with him lacking in height against Joshua it could play into his hands. If he can bob and weave and close the distance between him and the champion he will be able to throw powerful hooks to the body and may even look for the uppercut on the inside.

There is no doubt Joshua will want to keep the fight at distance. Using his jab to set up his straight right hand to soften up Takam. Once the damage is done on the outside and Takam takes a backward step the AJ onslaught will start. That is perhaps the perfect night for the World Champion.

How much can the French challenger bring to the table? The feeling in the casual section of AJ’s fans is not much. But the pundits believe it may be more difficult than that.

“Takam has to get in close, get to his chest, throw that right hand that he’s got to land on the temple of AJ because he’s showed that he keeps that left hand low, too low at times.” (Jonny Nelson, Sky Sports pundit)

While Nelson concedes that Takam is a threat to Joshua’s unblemished record he goes on to say that the fight is more about AJ. He goes on to say that if he plays to his strengths he should win the fight. If he is sloppy and underestimates the replacement opponent it could be a difficult night for the champion.

“I know Carlos Takam quite well because we had him in for sparring on a few occasions when David Haye was world heavyweight champion, in my opinion he’s potentially more of a threat than the original opponent Pulev” (Adam Booth, trainer of Ryan Burnett)

As he says above, Booth knows more than most about Takam. He thinks that underestimating the new opponent could have horrific consequences. The point is valid. Takam will challenge and test Joshua’s chin if he is given the chance were as Pulev would look to take the fight deep and out-box the Brit.

Heavyweight boxing is at times unpredictable. The main thing to take away in the build up in this fight is that if Joshua has taken this seriously, trained well and performs well on the night – he wins. Going further than that if he ticks all those boxes he wins by knockout. Anything less than that he may find something difficult as Takam has all the attributes in his locker to cause an upset.

The card features some other good fights that will showcase British boxing talent, so the card is not reliant on the main event. Joshua’s heavyweight rival Dillian Whyte will be in action against ‘the Nordic Nightmare’ Robert Helenius. Katie Taylor features on the card attempting the win the WBA World lightweight title against Anahi Sanchez who vacated the belt after missing weight yesterday. The Irish Olympic gold medallist can still win the belt but her opponent cannot.

Also Frank Buglioni fights Craig Richards, Dave Allen is in action and will fight Lenroy Thomas and Kal Yafai goes in against Sho Ishida.


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