Joe Joyce is back in action this weekend, as he takes on the tried and tested Carlos Takam over a scheduled twelve rounds at Wembley Arena this Saturday night.
Joyce’s WBC Silver, and WBO International titles are at stake and the ‘Juggernaut’ must get past the test of the grizzled Takam to maintain his lofty WBO ranking, on the latest Frank Warren-promoted show, live on BT Sport.
A potential meeting with Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title was put on the back-burner with Usyk now set to face the current champion, Anthony Joshua instead later this year.
This headliner should have formed the UK leg of a big night of action, but Tyson Fury’s trilogy match with Deontay Wilder that formed the USA arm of the broadcast has fallen by the wayside with positive COVID-19 tests in the Fury camp pushing the fight back to October.
Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs), is coming off a career-best win and performance, as he derailed Daniel Dubois’ fast track to the top with a stunning tenth round knockout win in Westminster last November.
Dubois started as firm favourite, but the 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist controlled the action and tempo, and his jab caused so much damage that Dubois was forced to take a knee and sit out the count to hand the 35-year-old victory.
The win added the British and European belts to his Commonwealth crown, as well as several other organisation fringe belts.
At this stage of his career, Carlos Takam is a good gauge of exactly what level the Brit is at, and if he is truly ready to step up to elite class.
Takam (39-5-1, 28 KOs) is in the twilight of his career at 40-years-old, but still has the ring smarts to cause the Brit problems. The Frenchman born in Cameroon, and now residing in Nevada, came to prominence in 2014, stopped in ten by Alexander Povetkin, and then ran Joseph Parker close in a tight points loss in 2016.
Two comeback wins followed, and he then received an opportunity of a lifetime, filling in at short notice to take on Anthony Joshua in October 2017 in Cardiff.
Takam was spirited, but eventually halted in ten. Derek Chisora then handed him a second straight defeat nine months later, the Londoner coming from a deficit on the cards to score an eighth round stoppage at the O2 Arena, London.
Since then, Takam has won four on the bounce in low key affairs, the last a ten round decision win over Jerry Forrest in July last year.
Prediction: Joyce is on the cusp of a world title shot, and first needs to get by a tricky customer in Takam. Joe can quickly frustrate his opponent off the jab, and I favour him to grind down the visitor in a late stoppage win.
Jenkins and Essuman clash for domestic belts
The undercard is headed by a British and Commonwealth title clash at welterweight. Chris Jenkins puts his belt on the line against former English champion, Ekow Essuman.
Jenkins (22-3-3, 8 KOs) has endured a pretty stop-start career, due to injury and inactivity, and is prone to horror cuts, as proved in his three technical decision outcomes through his career.
The Welshman’s last outing came in November 2019, another technical draw after four against Liam Taylor in Birmingham.
Born in Botswana but Nottingham based, Essuman (14-0, 5 KOs) has waited patiently for his shot here, and made two defences of his English crown before vacating.
‘The ‘Engine’ was last seen in September 2020, taking a wide points win against Cedrick Peynaud to lift the vacant IBF European title.
Prediction: The pick here is for the more seasoned Jenkins to retain on the cards.
Super Welterweight Sheeraz returns
Hamzah Sheeraz is one to watch, and the 22-year-old defends his WBO European super welterweight belt for a third time against Spain’s Ezequiel Gurria.
Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) is building good finishing power, and Gurria (15-1, 3 KOs) was knocked out in two rounds as recently as last year.
Prediction: Hamzah can score a stoppage win before the halfway mark of this ten rounder.
Bourke meets Beech Jr
Fight of the night could come at super bantamweight, where Chris Bourke defends his WBC International title against James Beech Jr.
Beech Jr (12-1, 2 KOs) gave Brad Foster a decent argument in his last fight, while Bourke (9-0, 6 KOs) wiped out the usually durable Michael Ramabaletsa in two rounds.
Prediction: Bourke may well need the ten round distance here to score a points win.
Adeleye, Fox and remaining undercard
Heavyweight hope, David Adeleye (6-0, 5 KOs) is in with Bulgaria’s Mladen Manev (3-9, 2 KOs), and he can win inside the scheduled six rounds.
Also at heavyweight, George Fox (3-0) may need all four rounds against debutant, Reece Barlow.
At welterweight, Sam Noakes (6-0, 6 KOs) can continue his knockout streak against Nicaraguan, Michael Isaac Carrero (13-64-6, 6 KOs), and Mickey Burke (4-0, 1 KO) can also take care of Paul Cummings (2-49) inside the distance. Both are set for six rounds.
Charles Frankham (2-0, 1 KO) may need the four round distance to see off the durable Dean Jones (1-27) at super featherweight, while Poland’s Michal Soczynski makes his professional bow, and the cruiserweight should take out Matt Sen (5-3, 1 KO) early in their meeting set for six.