Fight night tips: Best bets for Joshua v Takam in Cardiff
We make our pick for the main event for the Principality Stadium, plus the biggest fights on an undercard featuring Kal Yafai and Dillian Whyte.
Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam
A late change of opponent due to Kubrat Pulev’s injury should actually make Saturday night’s world title fight more entertaining.
As Takam is a stand-in, it’s easy to assume that Joshua is just going to walk through him.
The Frenchman, however, has got an excellent chin and an aggressive style. He should last longer against Joshua than Pulev ever would have.
Takam has only lost once inside the distance – a 10th-round defeat to Alexander Povetkin in 2014 – and he was also the first fighter to go 12 rounds with WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
Neither of those opponents are close to Joshua’s calibre, though, and the 28-year-old will surely win this bout in the same manner that he has every other fight of his career: by stoppage.
A strong defence will help Takam stick around for a while, but the IBF, WBA and IBO champion has still won 16 of his 19 fights inside three rounds. It shouldn’t take too much longer to end this one.
It won’t be the one- or two-round mauling that many are expecting, but Joshua to win between rounds four and six is the likeliest outcome.
Kal Yafai v Sho Ishida
One of Britain’s lesser-known world champions, Yafai – who is undefeated in 22 fights – will soon find himself in some big bouts.
This isn’t one of them, though.
The Birmingham-based super flyweight should have no problem beating mandatory challenger Ishida, who is fighting outside of Japan for the first time in his career.
Ishida is also unbeaten and holds a four-inch height advantage here.
He’ll look to fight off the back foot and frustrate Yafai, but the champion is clearly a level above his opponent and will eventually get inside to do damage.
With 14 wins by KO and 12 inside the first three rounds, the 28-year-old is one of the bigger punchers in the division and should notch another stoppage victory on Saturday.
Dillian Whyte v Robert Helenius
This promises to be Saturday night’s closest fight.
Whyte has been chasing a world title shot for months, and will be very close to getting one if he wins and takes the WBC Silver title in Cardiff.
Helenius will be a difficult opponent for the Bodysnatcher. His 26-fight record is perfect (aside from a shocking sixth-round knockout defeat to Johann Duhaupas in April 2016), and – like Whyte – he beat Dereck Chisora by split decision back in 2011.
The Nordic Nightmare is a couple of inches taller than Whyte and has a fine jab, but he can be rocked if his opponent manages to catch him on the chin.
Whyte is the kind of pressure fighter that Helenius could struggle against. He’ll force the 33-year-old back all night and wear him down with his excellent clubbing body shots.
Whyte’s a big puncher, with 13 of his last 15 wins coming by knockout, and he showed against Dereck Chisora that he can take plenty of shots, providing he’s not facing Anthony Joshua.
He might be frustrated early on, but it’s likely that the Jamaican-born Londoner will eventually make his pressure count and force the stoppage.