Joe Joyce maintained his perfect professional record and closed in on a world title shot with a sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in London on Saturday night.
‘The Juggernaut’ improved to 13-0 (12 wins inside distance) and cemented his position as mandatory challenger for the WBO heavyweight title by recovering from a shaky start to overpower his veteran opponent at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Joe took too many counters from the 40-year-old Takam (39-6-1) early, but he started to turn the tide in the third and after that gradually broke down Takam en route to that stoppage just before the midway point.
Joyce vs Takam analysis
Joyce opened up by using that spearing jab to score consistently, but there were a few warning signs for the Londoner. Takam scored more than once with counter overhand rights, including a couple of particularly sweet shots late in the session.
Round 2 followed a similar path, with Joyce starting the better of the two fighters before starting to eat way too much in terms of power shots from Takam. The Frenchman was impressive in the second half of the round, countering effectively. Joyce was having to show that granite chan a little too much.
Joyce enjoyed a much better third as he set the tempo while the workrate from Takam dropped slightly. Joe ended the session on a high with a lovely right hand which stiffened the legs of the Frenchman momentarily.
The fourth brought excellent action as Joyce mixed in some lovely bod shots with that spearing jab, while Takam again produced a few smart overhand rights to show he was very much still in the fight.
It appeared the tide was just starting to turn now with the fifth being Joyce’s best round so far as Takam looked a little bit weary and heavy-legged. Joyce meanwhile methodically continued to work behind the jab and mix in body shots.
Joyce closes the show
The end came in the sixth and it came quickly as Joyce produced a stunning left hook to rock Takam in the early seconds of the round.
Joe jumped in to go for the finish, peppering the Frenchman with shots with both hands. Eventually referee Steve Gray stepped in to wave it off with Takam furious about the decision.
The stoppage officially came with 2:11 of the sixth remaining, and while Takam wasn’t exactly on his last legs, he wasn’t throwing much back either.
Now Joyce knows he is very much on the brink of a world-title shot. He is the mandatory for the winner of Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.
Coming on the back of that brilliant defeat of Daniel Dubois last November, this does rank as another excellent win for Joyce and again shows he will be a nightmare for any top heavyweight to deal with. He will though ponder about the shots he took in the process, and against the likes of Joshua and Usyk they could result in a much higher price to pay.
Afterwards Joyce told BT Sport: “He’s a tough African lion so all credit to him. It was a good fight, he hit me with some good shots. He’s still dangerous, I had to take my opportunity when I saw it.”
‘The Juggernaut’ admitted that Takam’s counters had made at least something of a dent in the Joyce armour. When asked if he’d been hurt, he responded: “Mildly, I’m pretty tough. I weathered the storm and fired right back.”
Joyce’s promoter Frank Warren meanwhile said: “It was a very exciting heavyweight fight, they both gave everybody value for money and it was a sensational finish.
“If you’re taking shots and not throwing anything back, the referee has no alternative. And he was not throwing shots back.”