Joe Joyce stopped at the name Carlos Takam when his handlers presented him with realistic options for his upcoming fight.
Takam has five losses on his professional record, but the formidable Frenchman has a wealth of experience against top opponents. The unbeaten Joyce thinks Takam could even emerge as his toughest opponent to date Saturday night in London, Joyce’s hometown.
“Takam’s a strong guy,” Joyce told BT Sport. “It could well be [my toughest opponent]. He comes in shape. He’s had plenty of time to prepare. He’s strong. He’s durable. He’s got a good chin and he’s experienced, very experienced. He’s been in there with some big names and he’s really gonna test me.”
Takam is 40, though that hasn’t stopped him from winning four fights in a row since suffering back-to-back technical-knockout losses to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and veteran contender Dereck Chisora (32-11, 23 KOs) in 2017 and 2018. He’ll end a one-year layoff when he faces Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Wembley Arena.
The 6-feet-6, 270-pound Joyce produced the biggest win of his career in his last fight – a 10th-round knockout of favored, then-undefeated domestic rival Daniel Dubois (16-1, 15 KOs) on November 28 at Church House in London.
“The Dubois win was like definitely a good win,” Joyce said, “put me out there and, you know, I wanna continue with that form. And then, so I’m ready when I get that opportunity [at a world title].”
Takam (39-5-1, 28 KOs) has lost by knockout or TKO three times. The 35-year-old Joyce still figures there are detractors that expect the 2016 Olympic silver medalist to lose this fight.
“I don’t know,” Joyce said. “It’s probably 50-50 in people’s eyes. Or maybe some people – actually, probably a lot of people from the Dubois win will have more faith in me to get the job done on the 24th. So, I’m ready and he’s ready, so it’s gonna be fireworks on the night.”
BT Sport 1 will televise Joyce-Takam in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network estimated on its website that Joyce and Takam will make their ring walks between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. BST (5:30 and 5:45 p.m. EDT).
Joyce-Takam will be made available only on pay-per-view in the United States (www.fite.tv; $12.99; 2:15 p.m. EDT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.