Kevin Barry, the trainer of WBO Heavyweight World Champion Joseph Parker is in a unique position to assess the threat of Anthony Joshua’s opponent this Saturday, as Joseph Parker fought Carlos Takam, winning by unanimous decision in May 2016.  When I asked Kevin’s opinion on Takam, he told me;

“I tell you what, he really is the boogeyman of the Heavyweight division! Before Joe (Parker) fought him in 2016, I had already turned him down twice in 2015, out of respect for his proven record. I know for a fact Eddie Hearn also turned down Carlos Takam on a number of occasions for Joshua. Even after we fought him (Takam) there was an opportunity (for Joshua to fight Takam) and they turned it down. You may remember Takam sitting ringside for some of Joshua’s fights.”

“Look, I’m happy Takam has got this opportunity. But, lets put it all into perspective! In December he’ll be 37, he’s been a great, great fighter. He’s got three losses in twelve years. He brings a style, that defensively is very sound. He fights out of that shoulder roll position, excellent amateur pedigree, a former Olympian! He’s got a great record; 35-3 with 27 KO’s. He’s going to give trouble to anybody he gets into the ring with.”

“But taking the fight on twelve days notice is a little unfair. I really want to believe what Eddie Hearn is saying that he told Takam three months ago that he was going to pay this money to stay in shape. As much as I want to believe it! It’s a hard story to believe! I’m looking at Takam who is 37 in December, he’s not going to get many opportunities like this again. You know he’s going to take the fight on short notice.”

“I would love to think..It’s a fit and in shape Carlos Takam, because I think that guy would really test the stamina of Joshua. The challenge for me is whether Joshua can control the distance on the outside. If he allows Takam to close (the distance) it’s going to be a fight that will be very difficult for Joshua and it will be a fight that we will be very exhausting for him.”

“We’ve seen Takam many times exhaust opponents with the work rate he brings. There are a lot of things that could potentially make it a good fight. But, I just hope it’s a Takam that has actually prepared properly!”

Check out the full recording below with Kevin Barry.

Interview by Adam Noble-Forcey