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18 NOVEMBER 2017

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Joshua Takes Takam Out In 10




By Steve Bateson: Anthony Joshua had a tougher night than many expected as he went ten rounds with the tough and durable Carlos Takam in front of 78,000 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday night.

 

Joshua, who was supposed to face Kubrat Pulev, was tipped to storm through Takam early doors, who only had twelve days notice for this bout, but the Frenchmen showed bravery beyond measure to hang tough with the Heavyweight king despite a horrendous cut sustained in round four. It was a cagey start from Takam as Joshua eased into his groove from behind his jab but a headbutt to the champion’s nose in round two drew blood and potentially broke it, giving Takam the impetus to push forward a little more. Joshua landed plenty of leather early but they just seemed to bounce off the solid cranium of the challenger as he bobbed forward, displaying good movement. A slashing right hand opened up a terrible cut over Takam’s eye in round four, it was pouring profusely, and then he walked into a left hook that forced him to touch down momentarily. It looked only a matter of time before Takam was finished, either by knockout or retired due to the severity of his injury, but if anybody ever doubted his toughness before they surely won’t now. Takam was forced to absorb so many shots but he continued to march forward and even let his own shots go to the body of AJ, clearly aiming to sap the energy of the Londoner. Takam received a cut over his other eye but it did not deter him as Joshua began to breathe heavier, providing belief for Takam to pour forward. An uppercut in round ten momentarily wobbled the legs of Takam and Joshua followed up with an onslaught that made the referee step in and call of proceedings. The stoppage was a little premature and the fans booed the decision as Takam wasn’t in serious danger, it seemed more a mercy call than one of necessity. Takam was still remonstrating and complaining during the official result confirmation, he does have a fair point although he was never going to win the fight unless he could pull out a hail mary punch.

There will be question marks over Joshua from this display, there will be those who believe he still has a long way to go. Any comparisons with such greats as Lennox Lewis need to stop, he is nowhere near that level yet if ever.

 

One thing that must be noted is that Joshua was also facing a replacement at short notice and had trained for someone very different in stature, I’m sure he will be looking to put on a better show next time he sees action.

 

Olympian and home town fighter Joe Cordina scored a four round decision victory over Lesther Cantillano. Cordina has all the skills to be a big star in the Lightweight division and I’d expect to see him contesting championship bouts in early 2018. There has been some fan backlash as Sky chose not to screen this fight and instead showed pundits talking and I can understand their frustration, people are paying their hard earned money to watch boxing and should have access to the full card, not to listen to people talk. Referee scored it: 40-35

 

 

Dillian Whyte won the WBC Silver Championship and paved himself a path toward Deontay Wilder as he defeated Robert Helenius over twelve forgettable rounds in the co-main event. Whyte did not have it all his own way, however, and was rocked in the second round by a short inside left by the Finnish fighter as he began the fight sluggishly. Whyte was guilty of loading up and was made to miss badly as Helenius countered him well off the backfoot and scored with a succession of right hands. But after being hurt in the second Whyte was sparked into action from round three and began to bang away to the body of the "Nordic Nightmare" which returned instant dividends as Helenius’ breathing became deeper. Whyte was then just able to march forward from then on out, scoring more frequently with heavy clubbing shots to head and body as Helenius retreated into the ropes and decreased his activity. Helenius never seemed overly hurt by anything that was thrown at him by Whyte but he wasn’t scoring points or even troubling his opponent, the rounds becoming easier and easier to score and harder and harder to watch. There were question marks that perhaps Helenius injured his right hand around round six and he certainly did not display any ambition to win the fight in the second half, which is a shame given the fight seemed in the balance through the first three.

 

Whyte marches forwards in straight lines far too much and is very susceptible to punches, his legs wobbling in a number of fights, which will land him in very deep water should his opportunity arise to fight for a version of the world title in 2018. Rumours swirl that if Deontay Wilder defeats Bermane Stiverne next weekend then he may face Whyte in February next year, the build up will be exciting and it may be frantic for a few rounds but Whyte has work to do because his opponent was there for the taking tonight and he did not show the ambition to step it up and send out a message to his divisional rivals who he claims to belong on a level with. Helenius was ultra negative and made it awkward for Whyte but a top tier Heavyweight would have taken the Fin out inside the distance.

Scorecards read: 119-109 x2, 118-110

 

Katie Taylor is the WBA World Lightweight Female Championship scoring a unanimous decision over Anahi Sanchez, just seven fights and a year after turning pro. Sanchez lost her belt on the scales on Friday, meaning only Taylor could win the vacant belt, but that did not stop her taking the fight to the Irish boxing great, who has further cemented her legacy as one of the greatest stars her country has ever produced. Sanchez chose to stand and fight with Taylor, displaying her South American fire, but a huge left hand to the body in the second round dropped her to the deck. She rose and fought on through the rest of that stanza before coming out firing herself in round three, only to get rocked again by a solid right hand from Taylor. Taylor absorbed some damaging blows from the Argentine, who had nine stoppages in seventeen wins, but she never looked troubled and was the constant aggressor, always looking to finish exchanges with her beautiful signature body punching. Sanchez never stopped pouring forward and throwing, making an exciting fight, but she missed a lot and was made to pay by the terrific accuracy of Taylor. There was a huge weight difference, Sanchez looked at least a division above, but Taylor did not once look fazed and certainly carried the more power, snapping Sanchez’ head back with sickening right hands in round seven. Sanchez deserves credit for her bravery but she was overmatched in every department by Taylor, you could wax lyrical all day about her movement, precision, footwork, combinations and punch variation. Taylor is a fantastic ambassador and role model for women’s boxing and it is hard to see anyone troubling her reign on top of the world.

Scorecards read: 99-90 x3

 

Kal Yafai made it known he is ready for the best at Super Flyweight as he dominated Sho Ishida to retain his WBA Championship. Both men came into the contest undefeated but Ishida was cagey from the outset and allowed Yafai to settle into an early rhythm as the Birmingham man worked off his jab to coast the first four rounds, occasionally going to the body as he tried to slow down his ever moving opponent. Ishida seemed to awaken to his task in round five and displayed a little more aggression, using his longer reach to score jabs and then a solid right hand in the sixth round crashed off the side of the champion’s head to let him know he did now have a fight on his hands. But Yafai displayed terrific conditioning and fight preparation as he stepped the gears up from round seven and his more aggressive manner left Ishida trailing in his wake. A left upstairs worried Ishida for a few seconds in the seventh and another crunching body punch in round eight made the Japanese fighter wince, forcing him to withdraw back into his cautious shell for the remainder of the bout. Ishida never gave off the impression he was winning the fight and Yafai was able to see out the twelve rounds comfortably, the result never in doubt.

There are still question marks of whether Yafai is an elite level fighter in such an impressive weight class but he is certainly ready to step up and find out. At times he leaks a little defensively but he’s fundamentally skilled and a front footed aggressor, impressive on the eye when he lets his combinations go.

 

All in all a good performance and expect to see Yafai (now 23-0 with 14 KO’s) make his US debut on the "Super Fly II" card next year. Chocalatito seems to be the aim, a fading fighter but still talented in order to market Yafai to the American public but it depends on how long he needs to heal his hands, a recurring injury that will unfortunately plague his career. He might not be quite ready for Rungvisai or Inoue but a Carlos Cuadras fight or Rex Tso could be great to watch.

Scorecards read: 118-110, 116-112 x2

 

Frank Buglioni made a second successive defense of his British Light Heavyweight Championship with a unanimous decision over Craig Richards. Richards was a late replacement for Commonwealth champion, Callum Johnson, and although he started well he tired as the fight progressed and allowed Buglioni to take control and secure the victory. Richards, who was fighting for the first at 175lbs, started brightly and used his long reach and boxing ability to counter Buglioni well, the right uppercut proving a very effective punch for him. But Buglioni’s natural size advantage allowed him to just press forward, walking through any offense that came his way, and just pump out shots to the head and body of Richards that slowly ground him down. Richards best round was the third and he even stopped Buglioni in his tracks with a few well placed shots but from there on out he was second best and was forced to absorb solid work from the champion, even if he did catch a lot of impact on his impressive guard. With a full camp behind him Richards may have proven a sterner test for Buglioni but he faded badly and started to ship a lot of punishment, his guard dropping more often and allowing Buglioni to fire through with his bludgeoning right. It wasn’t the champion’s finest performance and that may be down to the late change in opposition but if it hadn’t been for the fatigue then this could have been close, there wasn’t any point that he truly troubled Richards with his punch power. Buglioni (now 21-2-1 with 15 KO’s) is a fan friendly fighter with an aggressive style but I’ve said before that he needs to work on his head movement and defense, something that was apparent again tonight and must be addressed if he has the ambition to move up in levels. He does have a good chin but that will not help him at elite level and he will find himself on the end of some sickening punches if he does not tighten it up, if he has the capabilities to do so, because he was in line to challenge Sergey Kovalev for the vacant WBO Championship instead of this bout and he’d be lucky to go half way in that one. A Hosea Burton re-match to win the Lonsdale belt outright probably beckons for new year. Richards loses his unbeaten record (10-1) but this display will get him more opportunities especially if he drops back to his optimum weight of 168lbs.

Judges scored the fight: 117-111 x2 116-113

 

Joshua Buatsi added a third straight win to his professional ledger as he scored a six round shutout over France’s Saidou Sall. There are high hopes for the Olympian but Buatsi has yet to get out of first gear since turning over from the amateur game so any judgement will have to remain sidelined until he meets a real challenge. He has impressive fundamentals and will be glad of the rounds although perhaps he really shouldn’t have allowed Sall, stopped four times previously, to see the final bell.

 

 

Lawrence Okolie kicked off tonight’s show by going 6-0 with 5 early as he blasted out Adam Williams in the third round of a scheduled six rounder. Williams was a short notice opponent and to be honest Okolie should be moving past this kind of fight, he needs to be tested on a consistent basis instead of just being rolled out as a name on a high profile bill such as this. There are potentially some exciting matchups for "The Sauce" in 2018 and fans should be seeing him contesting Area titles at the least from January onwards.




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