Takam will not roll over for AJ
Takam will not roll over for AJ
Takam was drafted in as an 11th-hour replacement for Kubrat Pulev, who has been forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury, and he will attempt to become the first man to beat Joshua and take his IBF and WBA heavyweight belts.
Takam may have an onerous task in preparing to face the mountainous Joshua, who has won all of his 19 fights by knockout, but he’s no mug. The Cameroon-born heavyweight, who fights out of France, has only lost three of his 39 fights and recorded 27 stoppages, suggesting he packs a meaty punch. He even took Joseph Parker the distance last year.
“He is 36 and been around the fridges of world title contention for the last two or three years,” said BBC boxing commentator Mike Costello. “He’s the next available contender and has been on standby since the fight against Pulev was announced. He will be fit and ready to perform.”
Takam is three inches shorter than Pulev so will present a different challenge and force Joshua to recalibrate his fight preparations.
“Takam is aggressive,” added Costello. “He’s brave but he’s very easy to hit. His best win will have been against Tony Thompson three years ago but Joshua is a much bigger step up in class. Takam is not as highly regarded as Pulev. He doesn’t have the same amateur background or the same pedigree but it’s a different style for Joshua to have to contend with now at this late stage. It’s a serious test all the same.”
Takam won’t come into the fight completely cold as Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, always had the hulking Cameroonian lined up just in case.
“There is big pressure on Carlos Takam but, in theory at least, he has been training for this fight for the past two months,” boxing expert Steve Bunce told the BBC. “His people had been told there was an outside chance of him facing Joshua, if anything happened with Pulev, back in August. So if we believe that he has been preparing all that time, after his last fight in June, then at least we have a fit Takam.
“He is only about 6ft1in. He fights small, about five or six inches shorter than Joshua, which doesn’t look good. But at least the fight is going ahead and rest assured, far worse fighters than Takam have challenged for world titles over the past 20 years.”
Ramadel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina star as stylish Colombia break Polish hearts
- The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament
- The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal
KAZAN: Radamel Falcao, Yerry Mina and Juan Cuadrado scored as stylish Colombia boosted their World Cup last 16 hopes with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Poland on Sunday.
In a match destined to see the loser sent home after the group stages, Colombia overcame a nervous start against Adam Nawalka’s men to move up to third place in Group H, one point behind Japan and Senegal.
The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament.
“I’m very sorry and very sad about the result, but tomorrow’s another day and we have to come to terms with things,” said Poland coach Adam Nawalka.
“Our players did their best until the end of the game. We lost to a very strong team and this is something we have to accept.
“I extend my congratulations to Colombia.”
The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal, who drew 2-2 with Japan earlier in the day.
Colombia’s march to the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago came thanks to James Rodriguez’s six-goal tally for Los Cafeteros.
And days after a troublesome calf injury restricted him to a half-hour cameo role as 10-man Colombia stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Japan, the Bayern Munich midfielder was back to his best.
Starting alongside Juan Quintero and Cuadrado on the right, Colombia’s ultra-offensive starting line-up was a forewarning.
After riding a tense start that forced Mina and then Wilmar Barrios to react quickly to thwart early threats from Robert Lewandowski, Colombia eventually got into their stride.
Cuadrado was wasteful on several occasions when finding space deep on the right flank.
The Juventus winger’s trickery would eventually pay dividends, but it was Falcao — who has dreamed all his life of scoring a World Cup goal — who turned on the style, dancing through the Polish defense to win the corner that led to Colombia’s opener.
Rodriguez’s short corner eventually found Quintero, whose smart through ball back to Rodriguez gave him time and space to curl a perfect left-footed cross that Mina rose to header powerfully past Szczesny on 40 minutes.
Colombia resumed in positive fashion, Cuadrado holding up well to set up Falcao for a first-time drive that sailed over Szczesny’s crossbar.
A Colombia counter saw Falcao’s drive from the edge of the area deflected out for a corner.
Nawalka replaced Dawid Kownacki with the more experienced Kamil Grosicki and the switch almost paid dividends.
Only the bravery of goalkeeper David Ospina saved Colombia from conceding what looked like the equalizer when he rushed out to block from Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker did well to get a shot away from a long ball from midfield.
Poland threatened again, but when Lewandowski got his head to a cross into the area he was marked by both Mina and Davinson Sanchez.
Colombia, however, were not to be denied.
When right-back Sanitago Arias found Quintero, the midfielder sliced Poland’s defense apart with a low pass that found Falcao on the run before he beat Szczesny down low with the outside of his right boot.
Five minutes later, Rodriguez produced arguably the assist of the night, drawing several Polish players on the left flank before somehow finding Cuadrado on the run with a superb cross-field pass that the pacey winger tucked away.