Undefeated British heavyweight Joe Joyce retained his status as a mandatory contender for the WBO title, stopping veteran Carlos Takam in the sixth round.
The British contender preserved his status as the WBO’s mandatory challenger after he staggered Takam with a sudden assault to prompt the swift intervention of referee Steve Gray at Wembley Arena.
Usyk has already been ordered by the WBO to challenge Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but Joyce has voiced his desire to face the champion who emerges victorious.
“What I want is AJ or Usyk! “I don’t need any more tests. “I’ve started at the deep end and I’ve carried on at a steady trajectory.”, Joe Joyce told BT Sport
The 35-year-old stretched his unbeaten record to 13 victories, 12 by knockout, but displayed a few alarming defence lapses as Takam landed his hook almost at will from the opening round.
Joyce’s renowned durability was tested again by more clubbing shots in the second, although he replied with a sharp combination that drew a nod of approval from Takam in the third.
Takam charged out for the fourth, defiantly swinging away with both fists, but Joyce unloaded a crisp uppercut in the fifth, a sign he had finally found his range.
The end came abruptly in the following round as Takam wobbled back to the ropes after a razor-sharp counter from Joyce, who piled on a succession of punches until the referee stepped in.
Takam complained furiously as Joyce celebrated the end of a fight that could put him on a collision course with Joshua.