No Filter Boxing - Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce IISep 24
Against the backdrop of a turbulent heavyweight landscape, Joe Joyce continues to plough a furrow in pursuit of the top dogs in the division.
Already crowned British and European champion just 12 fights into his professional career, the 35-year-old is not hanging around on his quest to claim a world title and the Putney man steps up in opposition once more this weekend.
Fighting in front of fans for the first time in two years, Joyce faces former world title challenger Carlos Takam at London’s Wembley Arena on Saturday night, live on BT Sport.
He’ll be supported by a stellar cast on a stacked undercard that includes Chris Jenkins vs Ekow Essuman for the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles, Hamzah Sheeraz’s defence of the WBO European super-welterweight title and rising heavyweight star David Adeleye’s return after his controversial win against Kamil Sokolowski last time out.
With so much to look forward to you won’t want to be anywhere else for your fix of top tier boxing, with the action getting underway on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 7.15pm.
Here are four reasons why you have to tune in to Fight Night Live: Joyce vs Takam this Saturday night.
The Juggernaut cranks up the pressure
Joyce will be aiming to live up to his billing as the division’s most relentless operator when he faces a step up in opposition against the durable Takam in Saturday’s main event.
The 35-year-old has endured a frustrating year patiently awaiting a resolution to the world title logjam currently holding up the heavyweight division.
A masterful victory over young Daniel Dubois last November had put Joyce in pole position to challenge Oleksandr Usyk for a version of the WBO heavyweight world title, with WBO king Anthony Joshua set to face Tyson Fury for the undisputed crown.
How to watch Joyce vs Takam
Click here for all the info you need to follow this unmissable night of boxing from Wembley Arena.
But when that all-British super-fight dramatically collapsed after it was ruled Fury must face Deontay Wilder next, the WBO ordered Joshua to make a mandatory defence of the belt against Usyk.
It means Joyce will have to remain patient on his quest to disrupt the status quo among the heavyweight elite – but the Olympic silver medallist remains determined to test himself against the best in the division.
Keen to avoid another extended period on the sidelines, the Londoner will risk his lofty position in the WBO rankings to face 40-year-old perennial heavyweight contender Takam in what promises to be an absolute barnburner at Wembley Arena.
Despite his advancing years, Takam, 39-5-1, remains a dangerous assignment to most having only lost to the best of the best throughout a storied career fighting all over the globe.
I want to hurt him like he is going to want to hurt me.
- Carlos Takam
Of the four fighters to have beaten him since 2009 – Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua and Derek Chisora – only Chisora has not gone on to win a world title.
It looks set to be an all-action affair at Wembley Arena with neither man willing to take a backwards step when the 6ft 1ins Takam faces 6ft 6ins hometown boy Joyce.
Despite his towering height, Joyce prides himself on his reputation as one of the most athletic fighters in the division and he will need to call on every facet of his skillset to navigate the challenge of his game opponent.
Will Joyce outgun this formidable heavyweight gatekeeper – or will Takam bury Joyce’s world title dreams?
Takam vows to bring the ‘hurt’
Crafty veteran Takam has promised to derail Joyce’s world title aspirations in devastating fashion when the two heavyweight sluggers trade leather.
Speaking to Joyce via Queensberry Boxing’s pre-fight head-to-head in the build-up, the LA-based French fighter predicted he would prove to be a more troublesome opponent than if Joyce had fought former undisputed cruiserweight king Usyk.
“Joe knows Usyk because they boxed before and Usyk knows Joe,” Takam explained.
“I am a problem because Joe has never fought someone like Carlos Takam. How am I going to fight him? It’s a surprise.
“I have experience. He has never fought anybody with my experience. That’s why I say he hasn’t fought anyone like me.”
Outside of the current world champions, Takam’s ledger stands out as one of the most impressive in the division having shared the ring with a who’s who of elite operators.
By contrast, Joyce’s professional career remains in its infancy with only 12 fights to his name – but already the calibre of his opponents has been mightily impressive.
Wins over one former world champion [Bermane Stiverne] and two world title challengers [Bryant Jennings, Alexander Ustinov] mark a solid start to his world title campaign but there is no doubt that Takam would represent his most impressive scalp yet.
Promising violence when the two clash at Wembley Arena this weekend, Takam added: “He [Joyce] is going to try and put me down, I am going to try and put him down. Whoever puts someone down first is the winner.
“I want to hurt him like he is going to want to hurt me. We are going to punch each other and I am ready for that fight.”
Good, old-fashioned British brawl
Those in the trade will have had this one pencilled for a while as Chris Jenkins puts his British and Commonwealth titles on the line against undefeated rising star Ekow Essuman.
Jenkins has had a frustrating time of late with the Welshman believing he has been dodged and swerved by some of British boxing’s bigger names since his last appearance in late 2019.
Conor Benn turned down an offer to fight for Jenkins’ coveted Lord Lonsdale belt last year, before injury forced the Swansea fighter to pull out of an initial showdown against Essuman in March.
Now healed and fired up for his ring return, Jenkins has promised to put on a show in the third defence of British crown.
“I don’t think I get the respect I deserve, but I come through the fights,” he said.
“I don’t know why I don’t get respect because I have been fighting at the top end of domestic level since the first fight against Tyrone Nurse six years ago.
I don’t want to give too much away, but it won’t reach the final bell.
- Ekow Essuman
“I have had several major championship contests and I’m never in a dull fight even when I was in the ‘Who needs me club,’ and took fights at two or three weeks’ notice.
“Maybe it is because I get cut, don’t bother with social media or perhaps my face doesn’t fit. I am happy in life though and it doesn’t get to me. I have got a thick skin.
“I think there are fighters who have done a lot less than me and get more respect, but nobody is going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
“Hopefully, the respect will come after I beat Essuman, but if not I will still sleep well in my bed at night because life is good.”
Essuman, meanwhile, has been preparing for this fight against Jenkins alongside top tier company, sparring the likes of former world champion David Avenesyan.
Speaking earlier this year, the Nottingham boxer revealed he had sought counsel from the Russian welterweight over how to deal with the frustration of being kept out of the ring.
“He said that it had been a long time, but he was able to work on things that he needed to. That sat with me,” Essuman said.
“I have taken that on board and I just have longer to cement the things I need to do against Jenkins.
“By the time I get to fight Jenkins things will be instilled in me and I will do them without even thinking.
“I see myself winning in good fashion. I don’t want to give too much away, but it won’t reach the final bell.”
Adeleye ready to make a statement
Rising heavyweight star David Adeleye was forced to ride a wave of criticism after defeating Kamil Sokolowski on a controversial decision last time out.
The hard-hitting 24-year-old had looked the real deal in his five consecutive knockout wins before crossing paths with Polish journeyman Sokolowski.
But he was forced to work hard in an invaluable learning fight against his 35-year-old opponent, often being made to box off his back foot over long spells for the first time in his career.
Regardless of the chatter surrounding the result, Adeleye moved on from the bout with his undefeated record still intact and the benefit of a tough encounter under his belt from which to develop.
“A lot of fighters who were turning me down before will be getting confidence, but reality will hit then when they get in there with me,” the man from Ladbroke Grove said.
“It might be the best thing that has happened.
“When I get in there and when they see what I do to them people will say, ‘Wow, David Adeleye is the real deal.’
“If it was to down to me I would have the rematch [with Sokolowski] right away, but that isn’t down to me. Who I fight is down the people who are good at doing their job.
“Everything is analysed these days. We live in a world where everyone has an opinion and some just give negative feedback which is part of the world we live in.
“If I bang someone out I am hammering them too soon. I go the distance, instead of looking at positives they say; ‘David should have knocked him out.’
“If I drank a Pepsi, someone would ask, ‘Why aren’t you drinking Coca Cola?’ You can’t win.
“The thick skin helps because I can brush it off.”
Now matched up against 12-fight durable Bulgarian Mladen Manev to tee off the televised card on Saturday night, Adeleye has the perfect platform to answer his critics in emphatic fashion.
Can he claim the sixth knockout of his career – or will he be taken into deep waters by another tricky opponent?
Watch Fight Night Live: Joyce vs Takam exclusively live on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 7.15pm on Saturday night.