Joseph Parker's trainer Kevin Barry has been poring over tape of Carlos Takam following the IBF's decision to order the pair to fight in a world heavyweight title eliminator, and one bout in particular might have caught his eye.

That is Takam's defeat to Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow in October 2014, a defeat for the France-based Cameroon fighter, yes, but a defeat which showcased all of his strengths - his twin threats in both hands, and, perhaps more particularly, his ability to take a punch.

Povetkin, who has lost as a professional only once - to Wladimir Klitschko - is a heavyweight from the top echelon, and he and Takam put on a superb fight, landing punch after punch in an old-fashioned slugfest. He is a mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder's WBC crown (negotiations have started for a fight in May) and many boxing observers expect him to take it from the American.

Against Takam, Povetkin was wobbled several times, but never went down. Takam was down in the ninth and 10th rounds. He regained his feet but was knocked down again for a decisive 10th round KO victory for the then 35-year-old. It was Takam's second professional loss. He now has a record of 33-2-1.


In other words, Takam, now 35, is a big challenge for Parker. He is a man who will come to fight in May (and probably in New Zealand but that is yet to be confirmed), a seasoned professional who has seen it all before.

The elimination fight will be scheduled for 12 rounds, and Parker could well need all of them if he is to be successful. The 24-year-old's great strength is his hand-speed and ability to throw punches in combinations. Takam is unlikely to have faced an opponent as quick as Parker, who is growing in power and strength with every fight, and the New Zealander has yet to face a fighter of the quality of Takam.

British boxer David Haye, who returned from a long lay-off recently to comprehensively beat Mark de Mori, has spent a lot of time in the ring with Takam.

"Carlos Takam was a sparring partner I had over for two months," Haye told Boxing News 24 earlier this month. "I used him before I fought [Dereck] Chisora. I think he's bigger, stronger, better punch variety, a better puncher, and a better chin than Chisora. He's like a third times better version than Chisora."

Barry will want Parker, who will have about a four centimetre height advantage, to keep his distance against Takam and to be patient. If the fight is held in New Zealand, that will be a big advantage to the South Aucklander, but everything points to this being a very close fight as well as a very significant one.

The winner will fight either Anthony Joshua or Charles Martin for the IBF heavyweight title. A big prize awaits.

The undefeated Parker, who only began his professional career in 2012, wanted bigger challenges and in Takam he certainly has one.