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Joshua hopes Africa calls after Takam bout

England’s Anthony Joshua, pictured in December 2016, hopes his upcoming fight against French-Cameroonian Carlos Takam will open up an opportunity for a match in Africa © AFP/File / Paul ELLIS

CARDIFF, United Kingdom, Oct 27Britain’s world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua hopes his long held dream to fight in Africa will move a step closer with a successful defence of his IBF and WBA belts against Cameroon-born Carlos Takam on Saturday.

Joshua — who weighed in at a career-heaviest 18st 2lbs (114.3kilos) compared to Takam’s 16st 11lb — has his eyes set on Nigeria as his mother Yeta is Nigerian and his father Robert Irish-Nigerian.

The 28-year-old has won all 19 of his professional bouts including most memorably Ukrainian great Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA title last April.

And he said one of the benefits of Takam replacing original opponent Kubrat Pulev is his opponent being from Africa, although he now fights under the banner of France.

“It’s definitely a blessing in disguise,” said Joshua, on the eve of a bout that could earn him up to £15 million ($20 million, 17 million euros).

“There’s massive interest. Takam’s good, he’s from Cameroon; it’s Africa, people are watching for sure.

“It doesn’t have to be an African fighter to fight there; it definitely has to be a champion though. We have to know who they are, and providing there’s no politics, anything’s possible right now.”

The 2012 Olympic champion said that his weight reflected how fit he felt.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running: maybe I’m starting to fill out as I get older, so who knows what it is? I definitely feel a lot fitter,” said Joshua.

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Takam, who followed Joshua back to his hotel after a previous bout in 2016 and said he wanted to fight him there and then, said he was in good shape and not just turning up for a large cheque.

“When I heard the news about the fight I was already preparing,” said the 36-year-old.

“I invite you to see what will happen. It’s going to be a great fight. I’m coming to beat him.”

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