‘The Juggernaut’ moved to 13-0 as a professional at Wembley’s SSE Arena on Saturday night, sparking into life to force a sixth-round stoppage of his 40-year-old opponent, who repeatedly tested Joyce’s chin with some solid right hands in the opening rounds.
After a gruelling battle and somewhat underwhelming display, Joyce got the job done in the end, retaining his Commonwealth, WBC Silver and WBO International heavyweight belts with a barrage of heavy shots, with the durable Takam - who was being rocked and not throwing back - visibly furious as he felt referee Steve Gray had stepped in to call a halt to proceedings prematurely.
Despite a clash with Takam that was more testing than expected, Joyce - who also holds titles at British and European level - believes he is ready for the challenge of meeting either WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO champion Joshua or Usyk, who go head to head in a title clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.
Joyce has been installed as the WBO’s new official mandatory challenger at heavyweight, putting him in line for a title shot, with promoter Frank Warren predicting that the 35-year-old will eventually face the winner of Joshua vs Tyson Fury, provided the latter pair come through their respective tests against Usyk and Deontay Wilder.
“What I want is AJ or Usyk! I don’t need any more tests,” Joyce told Steve Bunce on BT Sport after stopping Takam, who himself stepped in for the injured Kubrat Pulev to challenge Joshua in Cardiff in October 2017, losing in the 10th round.
“I’ve picked the levels up and strategically moved. I’ve started at the deep end and I’m carrying on that way on a steep trajectory. I’m ready now.”
On his performance on Saturday, Joyce - who spoke last week about his desire to face Joshua at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium - said: “He’s [Takam] a tough lion, so all credit to him. It was a good fight, he hit me with some good shots but I managed to work him out and where to land.
“But he’s still dangerous and I had to take my opportunity when I saw it.
“Did Takam hurt me? Mildly. But I’m as tough as they come and I weathered the storm and fired right back.”