Carlos Takam says he will bring war and experience when the former world title challenger fights Joe Joyce tonight.
The bout, set to take place at the SSE Arena, Wembley on BT Sport, is Takam’s 46th of a 16-year career but the numbers are all irrelevant to the young at heart Takam who will celebrate his 41st birthday in December.
War, says Takam, is what Joyce is in for but believes experience will be a determining factor.
“I cannot tell you what I will do but I can tell you I have more experience than Joe Joyce. I’m going to beat Joe with my experience,” said the jovial Takam when he spoke to Boxing Social.
Experience was something that Takam had to overcome in his professional debut against Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf on December 10, 2005. The French Cameroonian, who now fights out of America, had left behind a life of martial arts. Karate and Shodokan Aikido were interests of a youthful Takam who always enjoyed watching boxing during his childhood. After watching Mike Tyson beat Frans Botha in 1999 Takam would tell anyone who would listen that one day he would fight one of them.
“Everybody was laughing at me. They said to fight someone like Botha you have to start boxing!” Takam recalled.
That he did but his first professional fight, aged 25, came against a man who had already been a French champion, much to Takam’s surprise at the matchmaking.
“Oh god damn, that was a long time ago!” laughed Takam.
“My coach said, ‘Listen, Carlos, that guy is not an easy fight. You have to be careful because he was champion before’. I said, ‘Why did you take that guy for me?’ And he said, ‘Because we need to put you in the game now!’ My coach said to me, ‘Don’t worry you can beat that guy’.
“I remember that fight was not easy. At the beginning I was careful and after the first round, my coach said, ‘Calm down and do you job. You know what to do, don’t be scared, that guy is not going to kill you. Do everything you do in training, and everything will be alright’. So, in the second round I started to box, and I started to hit him, and land body shots and it was the sixth round I won. I won five rounds after that first round. I was happy. I beat a guy who was national champion, I was like, ‘Damn, that’s crazy’. I was so happy.”
Seven years later, Takam would serve some humble pie to those back home in Africa who mocked him when he fought and beat Botha in the penultimate round of their fight in 2012.
“After that, I made a big video,” he said, “and I sent it to a friend in Africa and said, ‘Remember when I told you I was going to fight Francois Botha one day?’ He was like, ‘Oh my god you did that!?’ I said, ‘Yes I did it!’ He was like, ‘What the heck man, you crazy’. It was my dream.”
Takam still harbours dreams of a second world title opportunity after his short-notice appearance against Anthony Joshua in 2017. The legitimacy of the threat he poses to those at the top table will be up for debate later. A win against Joyce, who is risking a shot at the winner of Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk on September 25, will see him jump the queue in the WBO Top 15 where Joyce sits at No.2 behind Usyk.
“I’m still hungry and I want to win again, and another belt [WBC Silver] on July 24,” he said.
“We gonna fight Joshua, the top one, again. I’m ready for that and I’m ready for this.
“Joe Joyce is a good guy, a tough guy, a powerful guy so it’s going to be a war. We’re not going to run around. It’s going to be a big confrontation. It’s going to be powerful. I know it and he knows it. Don’t miss the fight. We’re going to make a good show.”
Main image: Queensberry Promotions.