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Weekly Trust - - Shot! - ‘TRAN­SCENDED BOX­ING’

An­thony Joshua says he has the mind­set of a chal­lenger ahead of his world heavy­weight ti­tle de­fence against Car­los Takam tonight.

The bout will be Joshua’s fourth de­fence of his In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) heavy­weight ti­tle but a first de­fence of the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (WBA), which the 2012 Olympic gold medal­list won with a tech­ni­cal knock-out of Wladimir Kl­itschko in April.

But Joshua, who has won all 19 of his pro­fes­sional bouts in­sisted he re­mained hum­ble ahead of a bout with France-based Takam, who only stepped in at 12 days no­tice af­ter orig­i­nal op­po­nent Kubrat Pulev, of Bul­garia, pulled out with a shoul­der in­jury.

“I used to go to all the am­a­teur box­ing shows when I was an am­a­teur and you wanted the in­ter­ac­tion with your role mod­els,” Joshua told a Cardiff news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

“Now I see peo­ple com­ing up to me and I give them a bit,” he added ahead of a bout that could earn him up to £15 mil­lion ($20 mil­lion, 17 mil­lion eu­ros), said Joshua who lives with his mother in Lon­don when not train­ing in Sh­effield.

Joshua’s un­prece­dented draw­ing power for a Bri­tish boxer fight­ing in the UK means a crowd of over 70 000 is ex­pected at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium in Cardiff - best known for stag­ing Wales rugby union in­ter­na­tion­als.

For Joshua’s thrilling 11th round win over Kl­itschko in April, there was a 90 000 sell-out at Lon­don’s Wem­b­ley Sta­dium. “We have never seen any­thing like this in box­ing and may never see it again,” said pro­moter Ed­die Hearn. “This young man has tran­scended box­ing.”

But Joshua said mem­o­ries of April’s thriller would count for noth­ing in Cardiff this week­end.

“We’re go­ing to have to put the Kl­itschko win to the side at some stage,” he said.

“That was then and this is now. Car­los is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent an­i­mal to Kl­itschko.

“But what I do know is that I’m will­ing to do this or that or what­ever to win. In terms of style and tech­nique it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent. My mind­set is dif­fer­ent for this fight,” Joshua added.

The now 36-year-old Paris­based Takam (35 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw, 27 knock­outs) rep­re­sented Cameroon at the 2004 Olympics be­fore mov­ing to France the fol­low­ing year.

Joshua was un­con­cerned by the late change of op­po­nent say­ing: “My trainer Rob McCracken has al­ways taught me to fo­cus on my­self, my own per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, rather than the op­po­nent.

“He’s never trained me me for just one style of op­po­nent. Whether I was fight­ing Kubrat Pulev or Car­los Takam, he’s adapted me and it’s been about my own bal­ance, foot­work and tech­nique.”

Mean­while, Takam, who lost on points to New Zealand’s Joseph Parker last year be­fore the New Zealan­der went on to win the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion ver­sion of the heavy­weight ti­tle, said he was ready to face Joshua de­spite the lack of no­tice.

“When I heard the news about the fight I was al­ready pre­par­ing for another fight, so I am ready,” said Takam.

And Takam’s pro­moter Chris­tian Cher­chi in­sisted his fighter was not just turn­ing up for a big pay-day.

“Of course, there could be an up­set, be­cause you are talk­ing about heavy­weight box­ing and one punch can change ev­ery­thing,” said Cher­chi. “Joshua knows this be­cause he came back in a great way (af­ter get­ting knocked down) in a great fight against Kl­itschko.

“Some­times late no­tice means less pres­sure. An­thony is the favourite to win so the pres­sure is on him. But we be­lieve Car­los has a great chance to win this fight.

“We haven’t just come for the op­por­tu­nity, we’ve come to win,” he added.

World heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion, An­thony Joshua (L) and his chal­lenger, Car­los Takam. They will face each other tonight in Cardiff

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