Anthony Joshua does not believe he will be in for an easy night's work in his latest world heavyweight title defence against Carlos Takam, even suggesting that the durable 36-year-old will provide a sterner test of his credentials than original opponent Kubrat Pulev.
IBF mandatory challenger Pulev was initially scheduled to take on Joshua at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on 28 October, only for the former European champion to withdraw from the pay-per-view bout earlier this week due to a shoulder injury sustained in sparring.
Rather than call off the card altogether, Takam, currently ranked at number three by the IBF, subsequently got the call to step in and Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn confirmed that the Cameroonian-French veteran had been on standby since the Pulev fight was first announced.
A relatively low-key challenger who has won 35 and lost three of his 39 professional contests to date, few will give Takam any sort of realistic chance of depriving Joshua of his IBF, WBA and IBO belts in the Welsh capital.
However, the undefeated former Olympic gold medallist is evidently taking nothing for granted as he prepares to return to the ring for the first time since sending Wladimir Klitschko into retirement with a gripping 11th-round stoppage in April.
"I think he's tougher, "Joshua told Hayters. "Some people you punch and they take two steps back, I think he takes two steps forward and still wants to hit you with a few combos. I think that's what makes it tough.
"There was talk of me fighting him a couple of years ago but I've never had him in for sparring, unfortunately. I know he's game, he said he wanted to fight me as well so that's someone who believes they can beat me. I just know that he's got nothing to lose and everything to gain and that's a dangerous person."
An inconvenient late switch of opponent will provide a much different test for Joshua, who had been preparing to face another boxer in the Klitschko mould. With less than a fortnight remaining until fight night, the 28-year-old must now formulate a new plan to topple an experienced campaigner who stylistically is more reminiscent of Mike Tyson than a lumbering Eastern European.
"Mentally I've been preparing to show some boxing skills against a boxer like Pulev, because he's come from an Olympic system," Joshua added. "He's a [world championship] bronze medallist, he's got the Eastern European style which is like Klitschko.
"I was really looking forward to putting on a performance, boxing someone and jabbing, but now I've got someone who's a bit more Tyson-like, rounded, shorter. Takam rolls on the inside, he loves a left hook. I've got to prepare for someone who is going to be throwing hooks over my jabs. It's a completely different style, but I still have to try and look good doing it."