Anthony Joshua is well aware that boxing fans want to see him face fellow unbeaten heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder, and said after his win over Carlos Takam on Saturday that “it has to happen” — though he was also quick to remind fans and everyone else that being a titleholder comes with obligations.
“It has to happen. It has to happen for sure,” he said of fighting Wilder. “When it comes down to it, the IBF, IBO and WBA have mandatory challengers. I can’t just fight any Joe Blow I want. I have to fight the obligations as champion and once I fulfill those, my door is open to fight anyone, be it Wilder or anyone else.”
Joshua (20-0, 20 KO) retained his belts with a 10th round stoppage over Takam. It wasn’t the British superstar’s best or flashiest performance, but he was never in any danger, and largely dominated the fight. Takam was IBF mandatory challenger.
As for Wilder (38-0, 37 KO), he faces his own mandatory challenger, Bermane Stiverne, next Saturday night on Showtime from Brooklyn. Wilder beat Stiverne for the WBC title in January 2015, the only time in his career he’s gone the distance.
If Wilder wins, it’s unlikely a fight with Joshua is next, and it’s been suggested that Wilder will face Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 KO) before he faces Joshua. Whyte, whose only loss is to Joshua, won the WBC “silver” title on Saturday on the Joshua-Takam undercard.