Anthony Joshua expects to be taken “10 to 12 rounds” by Carlos Takam in Cardiff at the weekend.
The IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight champion is aware of his short-notice replacement opponent’s toughness, and isn’t banking on a swift knockout.
“He is durable. He will become more durable because he’ll be in hostile territory,” Joshua told reporters.
“When you come into that type of environment, what have you got to lose? He’ll say: ‘I’ll give it my all’.
“People have said: ‘Josh, what round? What round?’ I think we’re going for a 10 to 12 round fight because this guy’s head is like a block of cement.”
Joshua needed 11 rounds to stop Wladimir Klitschko earlier this year – prior to that, only two of 18 opponents survived beyond the third round.
Takam has only been stopped once, by Alexander Povetkin, and took WBO champion Joseph Parker the distance last year.
But Dillian Whyte, who lasted seven rounds against bitter rival Joshua in December 2015 and will fight on the undercard this weekend, opined that “Takam isn’t strong enough to cause him problems.
“He’s good, but a little too small. He’ll spend his whole night running into uppercuts and right hands.”
Joshua noted the difficulties in adjusting tactics, after original opponent Kubrat Pulev withdrew at 12 days’ notice. “With Pulev it wasn’t about whipping him around the body, it was about staying off the line and boxing down the middle.
“Carlos is different – he can trade down the middle. My speed will beat his combinations. A good way to beat Carlos is to take his body out, that’s what Alexander Povetkin did to him. I look at each individual fighters, and what their strengths are.”