Inside the Tyson Fury camp: Moses Itauma speaks out on unique sparring sessions

Fury has been in fight camp since the start of the year (Picture: Getty)

‘I think he’s a good kid. Moses Itauma is the future of the heavyweight division’.

As Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk prepare for a battle that could decide the best heavyweight fighter of their generation, ‘The Gypsy King’ has already named an heir to the throne.

19-year-old Itauma is one of the most frightening prospects in British boxing with his explosive style drawing comparisons with the teenage Mike Tyson who terrorised the division in the 1980s.

The Chatham youngster has started his career in similarly thrilling fashion with eight wins – six of those first round knockouts – and has set himself the target of breaking Tyson’s record of becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

Itauma joins Fury and Usyk on this weekend’s stacked card in Saudi Arabia, taking on German opponent Ilja Mezencev in his ninth professional outing.

It will be his second fight of the year, having begun 2024 by joining Fury’s training camp ahead of the original fight date in February – before a cut Fury suffered up against another sparring partner pushed things back to May.

Training camp rumours are par for the course around big fights, with Itauma dismissing rumours earlier this year that cruiserweight star Jai Opetaia put Fury down in one particular session.

What is a matter of fact, however, is that Itauma has already worked with the very best in class. He counts Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Lawrence Okolie and Anthony Joshua among his sparring partners – arriving to the gym for some of those sessions still in school uniform back in the day.

‘Stories can’t fight for you,’ Itauma told Metro.co.uk. ‘I have been there with the top guys, mixed it with them and held my own or done even better than that. I could have a million stories but when you are in the ring it is just you and your opponent. It doesn’t help you.’

Praise from the likes of Fury has certainly helped put his name out there but the youngster is mindful of letting it go to his head.

‘Once I start thinking I am the top dog, you get complacent. Every day I start at the bottom of the ladder, just to start climbing up.’

Heavyweight boxer Moses Itauma

Itauma christened the future of heavyweight boxing by Fury (Picture: Getty)

For the Fury camp, the teenager was brought in to replicate the presence of Usyk, the masterful 6ft 3in Ukrainian who possesses one of the best boxing minds in the sport.

While sharing sparring rounds with the country’s other elite names, being invited into the Fury camp for the second time at the start of the year was another experience altogether.

‘It doesn’t get any better. We had a birthday dinner for Isaac Lowe [Fury’s long-time training partner and close friend] and Tyson started sharing wisdom, having a laugh, he said.

‘Being in those conversations was a blessing in itself, listening to a man who has been there and done that. It is what I want to achieve. It is not just the boxing, its everything outside it too. I have been grateful. Not only just to be alive and be healthy but to be in this position I am grateful.’

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk

Fury and Usyk meet for all the heavyweight gold (Picture: Getty)

In comparing his sparring experiences, he describes his work with Fury as ‘a different level’, putting ‘The Gypsy King’ on another planer to those he has previously worked with. And in a warning to the fleet-footed Usyk, Itauma believes the Briton has the gas tank to wear anyone in the sport down.

‘When your sparring someone , you know straight away if they are English level, or European level. When you spar with Tyson Fury, you know you are in there with something else. It is not even world level because I have been in there with a lot of world level fighters. You’re in there with once in a generation fighter.

‘What he does with his footwork and hand speed given his stature… for a man his size, it is incredible. Not only that, his gas tank. We always say here, you’ve done eight rounds with Fury but if you’re outside doing that with anyone else, it’s the equivalent of 12 rounds.

‘The work rate is constant. He is a once in a life time fighter and a once in a life time character.’

Itauma was one of three chief sparring partners at the start of the year alongside Canadian Alexis Barriere and South Africa’s Kevin Lerena. There was also five rounds of sparring with cruiserweight champion Opetaia early in camp, with a session with Agron Smakici just weeks out from fight causing the cut that halted the show.

The severity of Fury’s cut meant it needed time to heal, ensuring any further sparring was on hold until the final weeks of April.

But having had a full camp under his belt, Itauma believes Fury is equipped to deal with Usyk’s masterful range of skills on the night.

‘If I was to say anyone who has the closest style to Usyk, it would have been Jai’ Itauma said. ‘He is a very good technical boxer. Kevin Lerena is more of a forward, peekaboo fighter. ,Alexis Barriere is very like that as well, I’m very front foot too.

‘To get southpaw sparring is a hard thing to get. Heavyweight southpaw sparring is another level. But it is all work at the end of the day.’


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