Joseph Parker was still a prospect when the two met. Aged just 24 he had amassed a record of 18-0 with 16 knockouts, but Carlos Takam was by far his biggest test. The experienced Takam was a 2004 Olympian and was 35-years-old when he entered the ring, holding a professional record of 33-2-1 with 25 knockouts. The biggest name he had fought was Alexander Povetkin, who had knocked him out two years before this contest, but Takam had also been in a tough, close draw with highly rated Mike Perez and beaten the respectable Tony Thompson.
Before the fight
The bout was an eliminator for the IBF, with the winner moving up the rankings closing in on a fight with Anthony Joshua for the IBF world title. It was revealed that Parker’s coach Kevin Barry had twice refused to match Parker and Takam in the previous year claiming Parker wasn’t ready. However, the lure of a guaranteed title fight for the winner seemed too irresistible to refuse. Barry claimed both Joshua and Deontay Wilder had avoided Takam as he was a tough opponent.
Takam entered the bout coming off of three wins around Europe whereas Parker had accumulated six straight knockout wins. Takam was the smaller man by two inches, but outweighed parker by roughly ten pounds at the weigh-in.
Round one – Parker was clearly faster, pumping out his jab, but Takam was having success landing solid shots when Parker lunged in. Parker was consistent in using his jab and the round strong with some intensity, but Takam had landed the more solid punches. 10-9 Takam.
Round two – Takam was having success with his counter left hook, but Parker soon began to work more impressively before slipping on the canvas and losing momentum. Takam was throwing little as he looked to counter throughout the round. Parker began to push the tempo and caught him with a flash right hand around the guard. 10-9 Parker.
Round three – The fight continued with Takam on the back foot not looking to initiate and Parker being tentative. They exchanged meaningless shots throughout until Parker landed a good right hand and combination. Takam offered nothing offensively as Parker began to use his speed and threw more combinations. 10-9 Parker.
Round four – Again Takam looked to counterpunch, offering only sporadic flurries, as Parker remained patient. Eventually Takam began to initiate. They exchanged toward the end of the round with Parker winning, but Takam continued coming forward landing more until Parker pushed him over in frustration. 10-9 Parker.
Round five – They both came out a little more aggressive, with Parker finding Takam’s chin with his right hand. Takam became wild and threw a burst of punches, but Parker was calm and consistent refusing to be drawn into a toe to toe fight. Takam’s lunges seemed to have an effect as Parker was forced back and took punishment. 10-9 Takam.
Round six – Takam now came forward more persistently, but Parker found his body early. His superior speed allowed him to land as Takam came forward. Takam was being outworked even when in range until he eventually stirred with a small flurry. Parker backed away, successfully moving around the ring as Takam came on strong to finish the round. 10-9 Parker.
Round seven – Parker began to use his jab once again pushing Takam back with a few quick left hooks. Takam continued to do nothing for the first few minutes of a round, all Parker had to do was pump out the jab to rack up points. Takam looked to finish strong again, but looked slow and lazy as he struggled to find Parker. 10-9 Parker.
Round eight – Takam came out with meaning but struggled to land clean on Parker (who had clearly tired). He landed a few shots as Parker backed into the ropes, but Parker fired back with a few terrific combinations putting in a lot of effort to stun Takam with his flurries. Parker looked used up as he landed another eye-catching combination toward the end of the round. 10-9 Parker.
Round nine – Takam again came forward, but he wasn’t throwing enough punches even as Parker looked drained. Parker was being given a lot of breathing time as he flicked his jab out and posed for the majority of the round. Eventually Parker was caught with a counter that left him shook before taking a few more blows. 10-9 Takam.
Round ten – With the pace slowed Parker began to use his speed advantage again, throwing double jabs. Nothing much significant was thrown in this round, but Parker was using his jab well as Takam gifted the round away. 10-9 Parker.
Round eleven – Again Parker was popping out a strong double jab and moving well to avoid Takam’s lunges. Takam continued to plod forward, but couldn’t land anything in a round filled with more posing than punching. Parker’s speed allowed him to fire in combinations to steal the round late. 10-9 Parker.
Round twelve – Takam came out looking for the knockout to win, but his hands were very slow. Parker replied with some impressive blows on the inside to stake his claim. Whenever Takam found success, Parker replied with a speedy combination. Takam was outworking Parker here, but Parker was still alive as he finished strong. 10-9 Parker.
In a very boring fight which I would never ask my worst enemy to watch, Takam looked sturdy, but lazy and limited in skill set. Parker looked impressive with his speedy combinations even if he seemed to struggle after eight rounds. Two judges scored it 116-112, whereas one scored it 115-113 all in favour of Joseph Parker. I scored it 117-111 to Parker in a fight where he looked poor at times, but still managed to out-box Takam with his range and superior hand speed.
After the fight
Parker learned a lot from the fight and continued his assault up the rankings with two more knockout wins before claiming the WBO title in 2016. He has yet to challenge Anthony Joshua for the IBF title.
Takam took a few months out of the ring before returning with two knockouts against lower level competition on his way to winning the IBF inter-continental heavyweight title. With Kubrat Pulev pulling out of a mandatory bout with Anthony Joshua, Takam stepped in as the next challenger.
Now older than he was in this fight, I can’t see Takam offering much resistance to Joshua. He should be sturdy enough to last a few rounds, but he couldn’t find the range against the 6ft 4” Parker so I can’t imagine he catches 6ft 6” Joshua too often.
Will Takam go the distance with Joshua? Let me know your thoughts below…
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