After Anthony Joshua switched his sights to Carlos Takam, we sought tactical advice from trainer Kevin Barry, who has already plotted victory over AJ’s next challenger.
Joshua defends his WBA ‘super’ and IBF heavyweight titles this Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with Takam taking his place in the opposite corner after Kubrat Pulev pulled out through injury.
Takam’s most recent defeat came against Joseph Parker, the current WBO champion, in May 2016 and we spoke to the man who came up with the Kiwi’s winning formula.
Trainer Barry reveals what tactics he employed against Takam and warns of the dangers that could lie ahead for Joshua…
How do you assess Takam as the next opponent for AJ?
Firstly, I think this is a great fight. Let me tell you this, in 2015 I turned Takam down twice because I knew what he was all about. He’s the boogeyman of the heavyweight division.
Excellent stamina when he’s in shape. He brings constant pressure, defensively he’s very sound. He’s got excellent amateur pedigree, a former Olympian, a great record of 35-3.
What game-plans do you expect from both fighters
I think that Joshua’s jab and long right hand will be very, very important in this fight.
If Takam can close the distance, which he has shown in nearly all his fights, make this a close quarters fight, I believe that will give him the best chance of being able to test Joshua’s stamina and nullify his powerful long right hand.
How can Joshua use his strengths?
I believe he’s got to keep Takam on the outside. He’s got to catch him reaching. I think if he does that – that new-found weapon for Joshua that he’s fallen in love with, his right uppercut, will actually come into play.
If he controls him on the outside with his long reach, he can catch him with the right uppercut, but once you start overusing that weapon it can also be your downfall.
What are Takam’s best qualities?
Take a closer look at Takam ahead of world title fight with Joshua
Takam is a guy that brings constant pressure. Defensively he’s very sound, he fights out of the shoulder roll position. He likes to impose his strength and power, and the one thing about him is when he’s in shape, he’s got a terrific motor.
I hope he is in shape and he has been training for a couple of months. One thing I can tell you is that when we fought him, he had three-and-a-half months’ notice. We got the very best of Carlos Takam and that was a year and a half ago and he’s now approaching 37. I don’t know if he’s still at that level or he’s started to slide.
Any warnings for Joshua?
Joshua needs to stay off the ropes, similar to his game-plan in the Dillian Whyte fight. If he lays on the ropes, or finds himself trapped on the ropes, that’s where Takam can really take advantage.
You don’t pull back straight, Takam will just keep coming. The other thing is Joshua stands up very tall and I think that could play into Takam’s hands.
What was the secret to Parker’s sucess?
What actually won us the fight was the double jab. It was mainly to the head. Joe didn’t go to the body as much as I would have liked in that fight.
We used the double jab to get him out of his rhythm. I don’t think Takam has the greatest feet, he’s a little heavy on his feet. We used that double jab with movement just to keep him off balance and walk around him. You don’t want to stand straight in front of him, which Joshua may do to try and catch him with that right uppercut.
Parker reflects on his hard-fought victory over Takam What is you Joshua-Takam prediction?
I have to answer it two ways. If Takam has taken this fight in 12 days, I think he will be very competitive for five or six rounds, and then his lack of preparation against one of the elite world fighters will show. The second half of the fight, Joshua will have too much for him.
If he has honestly prepared properly with good sparring and a good game-plan, and a good time to get himself in the best shape he can at the age of 36, nearly 37, and is able to close the distance, I think he could give Joshua a very, very hard fight.
If Takam’s fit, I really believe that he can take Joshua all the way. If he’s not in shape, I think there will be nothing left between rounds four and six.
Watch Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam, from the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, on October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book via your Sky remote or online.