Heavyweight veteran Carlos Takam was set to fight Oleksandr Usyk in Usyk’s heavyweight debut earlier this year, but when Usyk pulled out due to injury, Takam went in a different direction, signing a deal with Star Boxing and returning to action on Sept. 14 in Catskill, New York, beating durable club fighter Craig Lewis on a non-televised card.
Now, Takam and Star Boxing have made a deal with Top Rank, meaning that the 38-year-old fighter, originally from Cameroon and later fighting out of France, will be joining the ESPN platform stable when he gets back in the ring, slated for early 2020.
“I am greatful and excited for the opportunity in my quest to become the heavyweight champion of the world,” said Takam. “I would like to thank my team for the great job they are doing and all my fans all over the world for their support.”
“Carlos Takam is an exciting, world-class heavyweight who always makes for outstanding fights,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “I look forward to working with Joe DeGuardia and his team, as we believe Carlos has what it takes to reach the top of this divison.”
“Carlos and I are pleased to be joining forces with Top Rank and ESPN,” Star Boxing’s Joe DeGuardia said. “Carlos will have all the opportunities needed to rise to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division, and we are certainly looking forward to 2020.”
A cynical mind might choose to see this as a potential “other” opponent for Top Rank’s heavyweight star Tyson Fury, should that much-discussed Feb. 2020 rematch with Deontay Wilder not come through. Word is there are signed agreements between Wilder and Fury, but there are still a lot of X-factors — Wilder has to get through Luis Ortiz, first and foremost, with that fight coming on Nov. 23, and then Wilder and Fury both actually, truly take the fight and all that, with a deal made between the promotional companies — PBC and Top Rank don’t work together much, and there is real acrimony — and the networks and everything else.
Maybe that’s all done, maybe it isn’t. And then there’s, you know, the chance one of them just doesn’t do it. It’s boxing, it’s a weird sport.
But even just looking at this on the surface, it makes sense. Heavyweights attract more natural attention than any other division in the sport, and Takam (37-5-1, 28 KO) is still a solid fringe contender who, like Arum says, does have the ability to make for good fights.
At 38, Takam seems an unlikely bet to reach the top, a goal which has eluded him thus far. He represented Cameroon at the 2004 Olympics and turned pro in 2005, but he’s lost to his better opponents, including Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua, and Dereck Chisora.
And as we’ve said many times, fighters on the level of Takam are more valuable than ever thanks to the gigantic content deals every top promoter now has. Top Rank has use for Takam in their heavyweight stable, no question. So would anybody else.