A busted nose, a resilient opponent, and a dubious stoppage.

It wasn't quite the destructive performance that many envisaged from Anthony Joshua in Cardiff last night - but the 28-year-old still secured the 20th straight win of his professional career, stopping a durable Carlos Takam in the tenth round to retain his WBA and IBO Heavyweight Championship belts.

And he did so amidst an electric atmosphere at the Principality Stadium, with more than 70,000 fans helping ensure the Welsh capital once again passed the test of hosting a major international sporting event.

In only his third fight outside of his native England, Joshua's widespread appeal was evident throughout the night, with huge roars greeting every fleeting mention or appearance on the big screen.

And he entered the ring to an outstanding ovation, following a rendition of 'Sweet Caroline', the customary mini-display of fire, and perhaps the now even more traditional voice over of a fired up Scott Quinnell, outlining the passion associated with the national stadium.

On the one hand it all added up to a 'cheesy' main event build up - but if it was designed to intensify the atmosphere inside the arena, then it worked a treat.

But in the ten rounds that followed, another fan favourite emerged, as Takam defied all the pre-fight predictions in a show of true courage and determination.

The Cameroon fighter, who took the fight at just 12 days' notice, actually cut Joshua's nose in the second round, albeit via an accidental yet clumsy headbutt - with tests later confirming the champion had narrowly avoided a broken nose.

But the 36-year-old then survived a standing count in the fourth round, and by the time he finished the seventh, was battling on with a badly cut face, with a particularly dangerous gash above his right eye.

You could sense Joshua's frustration as he struggled to finish off Takam, who had replaced Kubrat Pulev, and despite his dominance and control, appeared in danger of going the distance for the first time in his career.

But after landing a flurry of punches in the tenth, referee Phil Edwards took the seemingly premature decision to halt proceedings, much to the distaste of those in attendance.

It was a slightly anti-climatic ending to what had been a successful night, with the World record indoor crowd for a boxing bout all geared up to seeing Joshua end matters by flooring his opponent.

It was also harsh on Takam, whose display of guts and earnt him the right to battle until he was truly beaten, and his post-fight ovation showed the extent of which he had won over a crowd that had earlier given him a hostile reception on his arrival to the ring. 

But regardless of the finish, the way the crowd, the stadium, and Cardiff as a whole embraced both Joshua and the occasion, suggested the venue should not be discounted when Eddie Hearn and co seek venues for fights of a greater magnitude in the future.

And there were other talking points too, with Katie Taylor capturing the women's WBA Lightweight World Championship by overcoming Anahi Sanchez by unanimous verdict after ten enthralling rounds.

The popular Taylor was all set to stop the Argentine fighter in the second, but the latter, who failed to make the correct weight pre-fight weigh and therefore could not have walked away with the title regardless, dug deep to push the Irish fighter all the way.

And then there was a real bonus for the home crowd as Cardiff lightweight fighter Joe Cordina, in his fifth professional bout, out-pointed Lester Cantillano.

Anxiety had spread earlier in the evening when it appeared Cordina, whose fight was listed as a 'floater', would be dropped from the bill as Joshua's scheduled 10pm walk to the ring neared.

But organisers took the eminently sensible decision to squeeze Cordina in prior to the main event, giving the Welsh fighter the benefit of fighting in front of the capacity crowd, and providing the perfect curtain raiser to the finale.

One disappointment came in the form of the WBC Silver Heavyweight Championship bout between Dillian Whyte and Finland's Robert Helenius, which England's Whyte won comfortably after 12 tedious rounds bereft of intensity.

But it didn't detract from another night where Cardiff proved it deserved its place as a city capable of staging the big occasion.

And whilst the win, opponent, and even performance, may not feature highly on a DVD of Joshua's greatest nights come the end of his career - for those in attendance, it was an electric and memorable evening.

Sure enough, when on the microphone Joshua thanked 'Cardiff for coming' in his post-fight interview, you sensed he'd have no qualms returning for a bout of bigger significance and global appeal.

And make no mistake, Wales and its capital city is more than capable of accommodating him.