By: Sean Crose
“I would love to fight the great champions that the United States has produced,” heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua said on a recent conference call. “At the same time, I’ll fight anywhere. I’m fine staying in the UK, but America’s definitely at the top of the pyramid for sure.” England’s Joshua, who masterfully bested former longtime heavyweight king Wladimir Klitshcko at a packed Wembley Stadium last spring, is looking ahead to big things as the widely recognized top figure in his division. Still, the man has a fight this Saturday in Cardiff, Wales against the 35-3-1 Carlos Takam (Americans can watch the match live on Showtime).
It may not be a major bout, but the 19-0 (all by knockout) Joshua isn’t planning on underestimating his opponent. “You could put me with anyone,” he said. “What I’ve worked on in the gym and what I’ve built myself two of these last three months, I should be able to fight anyone.” Wilder was originally supposed to fight Kubrat Pulev, but Pulev stepped away due to an injury, opening the way for Takam. “I didn’t expect him to stand down the opportunity,” Joshua said of Pulev, “but I do understand that he wanted to be 100 percent.” Still, Joshua claims it isn’t easy for him to go from one opponent to another.
“It’s just switching up my mindset about the style of fight I’m going to engage in now,” he said. “That was the main disappointment.” Even though he’s focused on France’s (by way of Cameroon) Takam, it’s obvious Joshua has his eye on his American counterpart, one Deontay Wilder. “I say it’s definitely a potential for 2018,” Joshua said of a heavyweight superfight between himself and the 38-0 native of Alabama. “What else am I going to do in 2018 provided that I don’t have any mandatories?”
A Wilder fight appears to be more than just a matter of an open schedule for Joshua, who made it clear the matter of legacy is also involved. “I need Wilder to have a remarkable fight,” he said. “I need to be the one that steps up to make this dream a reality.” Joshua’s last bout, against Klitschko, was remarkable in its own right, with the fighter admitting that it was a learning experience. “When you watch,” he began, “a George Foreman and Ron Lyle kind of fight or an Ali and Foreman fight where a bit of their soul and spirit disappears, I always wondered how they were doing it and how they were taking those shots. You always question how, why, and what makes people do what they do. Until I went through it, I would always watch boxing but now I don’t just watch it, I understand it.”
Joshua made it clear, however, that he wasn’t feeling a sense of urgency when it came to facing Wilder. “There’s no time scale,” he said. “You kind of just roll with the punches.”