Britain’s Anthony Joshua is aiming to unify the heavyweight division next year after defending his WBA and IBF titles against Carlos Takam in Cardiff on Saturday.
Joshua needed 10 rounds to stop the gutsy Takam in front of 75,000 fans at the Principality Stadium, extending his perfect record of 20 wins by knockout in 20 professional bouts.
American Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker of New Zealand hold the WBC and WBO titles respectively and Joshua hopes to meet them with a view to unifying the division in 2018.
“The possibilities are bubbling nicely in the distance,” he said. “I’m not worried about 2018 because of the potential possibilities to come. I want the other two belts out there, whether it’s Wilder first or Parker.”
Joshua, 28, added, however, that his priority for the next 12 months is retaining his current crowns and that he could prolong his career into his forties.
“I’m just focusing on keeping my belts by any means. I think the WBA have a mandatory in place so my next three fights could be an obligation I have to fill if I want to keep the belts,” he said.
“In my mind I’m just focusing on keeping my belts and getting better from here and winning and winning. It’s not about the 21st fight or the 22nd fight, it’s about 15 fights from here – 10 years, 15 years.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has also talked of taking his star client overseas, with fights in Nigeria, the Middle East and China mentioned but the United States considered the most likely.
“It’s up to what Anthony wants to do,” said Hearn. “He can box in any territory he wants but I think right now it’s about mapping the year rather than just the next one.”
The Watford fighter was made to work harder than expected by Cameroon-born Takam, who stepped in for his injured original opponent Kubrat Pulev at just two weeks’ notice.
Joshua suffered a suspected broken nose in a clash of heads during the second round but took control in the fourth, knocking down Takam and leaving him with a cut above his right eye.
Takam backed up Joshua in the seventh round but referee Phil Edwards stepped in three rounds later despite the challenger’s protests.