From retirements to mandatory challengers. From Vegas to Cardiff. The timeline that will result in Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam…
January 29, 2017 – An innocuous-looking fight in Macao sets the ball rolling. Carlos Takam KOs Marcin Rekowski to win the IBF inter-continental title and improve his ranking with the organisation.
April 28 – Kubrat Pulev, already the mandatory challenger to the IBF belt, out-points Kevin Johnson (a 2015 victim of Joshua’s).
May 7 – Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland reiterates their right to face Joshua, saying: “It’s a fight that we were offered before and turned down because we knew we were mandatory. It’s key that we have that fight. It’s a fight that [Pulev] has earned.”
May 11 – Klitschko is still considering whether to accept a rematch against Joshua. Promoter Eddie Hearn says: “Cardiff, Las Vegas, China and Dubai are all in play.”
June 7 – Joshua-Klitschko II is approved by the IBF. Pulev had objected but accepted the condition that he will receive his shot immediately afterwards.
June 17 – Takam KOs Ivica Bacurin (a former opponent of Dillian Whyte and Tony Bellew) in Italy.
June 29 – As Vegas plans intensify for Joshua-Klitschko II, Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza says: “It would be the biggest heavyweight Vegas fight in probably a couple of decades, so we would love to host it.”
August 3 – Klitschko confirms his retirement
October 16 – Pulev withdraws with an injury and is immediately replaced by Takam, who fills in as Joshua's mandatory challenger
October 17 – Johnny Nelson said: “I was watching ‘AJ’ train a few weeks ago and it was all specifically in preparation for Pulev, the height, the movement, the shot and his onslaught – now he has to change all that.”
October 18 – Takam sends his first verbal warning to Joshua
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.