Anthony Joshua has less than two weeks to adjust to new opponent Carlos Takam

Anthony Joshua has less than two weeks to adjust to new opponent Carlos Takam

Anthony Joshua has less than two weeks to adjust to a new opponent after Carlos Takam replaced Kubrat Pulev as the world heavyweight champion's challenger on October 28.

Bulgarian Pulev, who had been the mandatory challenger to the IBF and WBA champion, has been forced to pull out of the fight after hurting his shoulder while sparring.

Frenchman Takam, 36, will replace him, meaning Pulev faces a lengthy wait to fight Joshua after also losing his status as mandatory challenger with the IBF.

"I received a call from (Pulev's promoter) Kalle Sauerland late (on Monday) afternoon to inform me that Pulev had injured his shoulder and was maybe ruled out of the fight," said Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom via a statement.

"This was later confirmed by his doctor. IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line which is Carlos Takam.

"When the Pulev fight was announced I made a deal with Takam's team to begin camp and be on stand-by for this fight. When I called them this evening they were overjoyed and good to go.

"It's a difficult position for 'AJ' having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam. This hasn't happened in his career before but he is ready for all comers on October 28."

It was reported in Bulgaria that Pulev, also 36, could yet challenge Joshua in November or December, but Matchroom have already sold more than 70,000 tickets and anticipate a near-80,000 crowd to attend the fight at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

The venue is also committed to hosting the Wales rugby union team's autumn internationals on consecutive Saturdays from November 11 to December 2.

Takam, born in Cameroon and considered a less challenging opponent for Joshua having previously lost to WBO champion Joseph Parker, Russia's Alexander Povetkin and the little-known Gregory Tony, is shorter yet rangier than Pulev.

His intervention comes at a time when rumours persisted that Joshua's long-time rival Dillian Whyte, scheduled to fight Robert Helenius on the undercard, could instead have fought the 28-year-old in a rematch.

Both Joshua and Matchroom intend for him to fight higher-profile opponents in 2018, when WBC champion Deontay Wilder, Parker, and David Haye - should he win his rematch with Tony Bellew in December - will be among their targets.

Any second opportunity for Pulev, whose only defeat came against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, will therefore be significantly delayed.

More in this Section

Tributes pour in as 'blessed' Barry Geraghty announces retirement from racingTributes pour in as 'blessed' Barry Geraghty announces retirement from racing

Mile Jedinak retires from football aged 35Mile Jedinak retires from football aged 35

Raheem Sterling claims hat-trick as Manchester City sweep aside BrightonRaheem Sterling claims hat-trick as Manchester City sweep aside Brighton

Mikel Arteta delighted with Kieran Tierney as defender adapts to Arsenal lifeMikel Arteta delighted with Kieran Tierney as defender adapts to Arsenal life


Lifestyle

The long-tailed tit’s nest is an architectural marvel.Richard Collins: Altruism of the long-tailed tits or not

The flight that brought us home to Ireland after our seven months sojourn in the Canary Islands (half our stay intended, half not) was the most comfortable I’ve experienced in years. With a large plane almost entirely to yourself, you could again pretend you were somebody.Damien Enright: Wonderful to see the green, green grass of home

IRISH folklore is replete with stories of priests praying for fine weather to help farmers save their crops in wet summers. However, the opposite could soon be happening when divine powers may have to be invoked to provide rain. And not just for farmers.Donal Hickey: Praying for rain — in Ireland

Geography is often the defining factor for the destiny of an island. Those islands that lie close to the shore have often been snapped up by interests on the mainland and their morphology changed to something completely different.The Islands of Ireland: Tarbert morphed onto the mainland

More From The Irish Examiner