Carlos Takam is looking for inspiration from Cameroon’s footballers for his mission impossible against Anthony Joshua.
Cameroon have enjoyed some famous upsets over neighbours and great rivals Nigeria, where Brit Joshua’s family are from, despite being much smaller and poorer.
The Indomitable Lions have beaten Nigeria in three Africa Cup Of Nations finals, and also defeated them in qualifying for Italia 90, a tournament lit up by Cameroon legend Roger Milla.
Cameroon-born Takam sees him against Joshua as an extension of that rivalry.
“In Africa, Cameroon against Nigeria is a big derby because we are neighbours,” he said.
“Games between us are always big, it is one of the biggest rivalries in African football.
“Even though we are much smaller, we have had some famous wins over Nigeria. I know most people expect Joshua to win but this makes me believe I can win.”
Although Takam became a French citizen in 2015, 10 years after moving to Paris to turn professional, he is proud of his Cameroonian roots.
He started boxing there at the relatively late age of 22 and represented the West African country at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where he lost in the first round.
The 36-year-old, who has been stopped only once in his 39 pro fights, has huge support in his homeland and says the nation of 23 million will stop to watch him on Saturday in his first world title fight.
“I still have strong ties with Cameroon,” said Takam as he relaxed with a towel over his head in a tiny dressing room in Cardiff’s St David’s Hall after a public work-out.
“My roots are there and I often return to Cameroon to see my family and friends.
“I started boxing there when I was 22, just for fun really. I just wanted to try it but then I fell in love with the sport of boxing. The whole country will watch me fight Joshua. I have received a lot of phone calls from Cameroon and everyone wants to see this fight.”
Takam, who witnessed Joshua’s vocal support at the public work-out, insists he can win over the record 78,000 crowd beneath the closed roof of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.