Home Boxing Ref Receives Heavy Criticism As Anthony Joshua Stops Impossibly Brave Carlos Takam

Ref Receives Heavy Criticism As Anthony Joshua Stops Impossibly Brave Carlos Takam

It was mainly one-sided, but Anthony Joshua’s scrap with late-replacement Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff was a strangely gripping affair which featured several minor dramas.

The first round of the heavyweight contest was pretty tame, with Takam reluctant to engage and Joshua seemingly content to have a look at his foe while boxing behind the jab. In the second, however, things became interesting. A clash of heads damaged Joshua’s nose, which began to bleed profusely. The Sky Sports commentary team of Adam Smith, Carl Froch and Tony Bellew immediately speculated that it was broken. But AJ showed his character once again. Seemingly spurred on by the clash, he started to open up on Takam.

After a slightly cagey third in which he looked slightly hesitant, Joshua had a huge fourth round. He badly hurt and cut Takam with a combo that ended with a slashing hook. Takam looked for a moment of respite from referee Phil Edwards but didn’t get it. Perhaps worried that he was living on borrowed time, the tough but wounded veteran threw caution to the wind. This gave Joshua an opportunity though and he dropped a more open Takam with a big left hook.

Takam managed to survive the round, however.

At the start of the fifth, Edwards brought the doctor in to look at Takam’s cut, which was nasty, bloody and badly positioned above his right eye. To the delight of the enthralled fans, the fight was allowed to continue.

Over the next several rounds, Joshua landed plenty of leather but Takam refused to wilt, despite being forced to dab constantly at his right eye in an attempt to clear the still streaming claret. Joshua wobbled him with an uppercut in the sixth, landed nice right hands around the side of Takam’s guard in the seventh, and punished the French-based Cameroon native to the body in the eighth round of what was becoming a bit of an ordeal. Yet Takam looked surprisingly spritely in the ninth and even had some success as Joshua’s work-rate dipped. AJ gave some ground towards the end of that session, but still landed a nice combo from his bike.

In the tenth, Takam went at Joshua again but the big Brit landed a nice volley of shots ending in a sickening hook-cum-uppercut that caused a reaction in the legs of the impossibly courageous 36-year-old challenger. Joshua applied the pressure and landed some solid follow-up punches. However, when Phil Edwards stepped in to halt the fight moments later, it seemed premature and Takam protested bitterly.

It should be noted, that the brief video above does not tell the whole story and Edwards’ decision was likely influenced by the brutal context provided by the previous nine rounds.

Still, boos rang throughout the massive stadium which was apparently packed with 80,000 ghouls, who cheered vociferously when Joshua asked post-fight if they wanted to see Takam rendered completely unconscious.

On Twitter, there was more fury at Edwards’ stoppage, but also deserved praise for Takam.

As for Joshua, it wasn’t a scintillating performance by any stretch of the imagination, but he provided yet more entertainment, scored the finish to keep his KO streak alive (regardless of how controversial the ending was), and retained possession of his WBA and IBF heavyweight straps, all while showing once again that he has the poise and character to come through the tough moments.

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