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The next ‘Mike Tyson’, Moses Itauma, to make his pro debut on the Beterbiev vs. Yarde undercard

The next 'Mike Tyson', Moses Itauma, to make his pro debut on the Beterbiev vs. Yarde undercard featured image
Mike Tyson became the youngest Heavyweight champion in the history of the sport, and Moses Itauma is the only prospect in the sport today that is tipped to break that record. (Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

Moses Itauma, a British Heavyweight prospect that fights in the Southpaw stance, will be making his professional debut on the undercard of the Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde event, held at the Wembley Stadium in London on January 28.

Itauma’s debut comes paired with high expectations due to his relatively short yet impressive amateur career that saw him win a total of twenty-four times. He mostly drew attention with his knockout/stoppage victories, which are rare in amateur boxing, even in the Heavyweight division. He participated in several tournaments where he coursed through his opponents IBA World Youth Championships and the junior/youth version of the EUBC European Championships, the former in which he stopped at least half of his opponents on course to winning it, and the latter which he won all his official bouts in the competition by stopping his opponents in only the first round. This naturally led to talk to comparisons to Mike Tyson, who had around fifty fights and knocked out or stopped thirty-eight of his opponents. With five out of six of his losses considered controversial, Tyson cultivated a reputation for being dangerous well before he stepped into the professional ranks of boxing.

Moses Itauma is also the younger brother of Karol Itauma, a decent Light-Heavyweight prospect who has compiled a good record of 9-0 (7 KO’s), though it only now seems he is stepping up the plate. Out of his last nine fights, Karol Itauma has only ever faced two opponents with a winning record, one of whom was a rookie like him – who ended up having a losing record by 2022. Though he sports a good KO-ratio, it is still early in Karol Itauma’s career and he has yet to face anyone that can truly challenge him properly.

The next 'Mike Tyson', Moses Itauma, to make his pro debut on the Beterbiev vs. Yarde undercard image 1
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 11: Karol Itauma celebrates knocking out Jiri Kroupa after the Light Heavyweight fight between Karol Itauma and Jiri Kroupa at York Hall on March 11, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Moses’ performances in the amateur – though not as extraordinary as those a plethora of other Heavyweight fighters of both the modern day and the past – it does indicate he has plenty of potential, at least where power is concerned. Mike Tyson was one of few amateur Heavyweights to record a large stoppage KO ratio in the amateurs, and though Itauma has had fought less than half the times Tyson did, it is still a rarity for such a high KO rate to persist in the amateurs.

As a Southpaw and said to be standing at either 6’4, 6’5 or even 6’6, Itauma carries a number of significant advantages other than just his power. Though skill has been rarely mentioned – as it hadn’t with Tyson, Moses himself indicated he had more in the baggage with his introduction interview when he became signed to Queensberry Promotions, run by longtime promoter Frank Warren.

“About two years ago I felt the amateur game wasn’t really for me and I started to grow out of it. I don’t think I’m special but I realised I was good at boxing probably when I started sparring Lawrence Okolie when I was 14-15 years old and was holding my own.” Moses Itauma said.

“I was then sparring Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua and was still holding my own, if not getting the better of it. When I was sparring Joyce and Okolie I was coming in wearing my school uniform having come straight from school and was yawning.”

It is important to note that not just any fifteen-year old would even be considered for sparring the boxers he did, unless he was deemed capable enough. Though this doesn’t necessitate that he is on their level, it does show that given time, effort and experience, Itauma can definitely surpass aforementioned boxers at some point.

The next 'Mike Tyson', Moses Itauma, to make his pro debut on the Beterbiev vs. Yarde undercard featured image 2
Moses Itauma (R), pictured with his brother Karol Itauma (L) and Lawrence Okolie (M). (Photo by Instagram/Moses Itauma)

A large factor towards helping him reach his full potential is dependent on who he fights. As we have illustrated earlier with his brother, Karol Itauma – who is also signed to Queensberry Promotions, Moses may not receive the type of fights he needs to really improve. It is however notable that a similar prospect in Daniel Dubois (19-1, 18 KO’s) – also signed with Queensberry – is considered a top 10 or top 15 Heavyweight at the young age of twenty-five after taking a proper route in the infancy of his pro career by challenging himself against fighters with winning records. Dubois himself had been lauded as the next coming of ‘Mike Tyson’, and even with the loss he took against stablemate Joe Joyce and the recent dodgy performance in his victory against Kevin Lerena, Dubois is already considered to be a contender a this age.

The next 'Mike Tyson', Moses Itauma, to make his pro debut on the Beterbiev vs. Yarde undercard featured image 3
CLEVELAND, OHIO – AUGUST 29: Daniel Dubois celebrates after knocking out Juan Carlos Rubio in their heavyweight bout during a Showtime pay-per-view event at Rocket Morgage Fieldhouse on August 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Moses Itauma can go on a similar path as Dubois, and given the stories of him already being capable of sparring world champions as a teenager, he can potentially exceed the fellow Brit in what he achieved as a professional. Dubois himself did not manage to remain undefeated as an amateur, and given the stumbling blocks he faced and overcame, the prospect of Itauma being even more talented spells that the Mike Tyson comparisons might not be overdrawn.

It will be remains to be seen if Itauma can impress the crowds as much with his knockouts, as ‘Iron Mike’ had. His professional debut on January 28 will likely not answer every question regarding Itauma’s skill and power, but the former amateur prospect can definitely herald himself as the next biggest thing in boxing with a confident & victorious performance. For the rest, it will be time and his own work in and out of the gym that will dictate where he will go.

For now, however, Moses Itauma has drawn a significant amount of buzz that he generated by his own performances, and it will be up to him to be able to maintain his momentum as he ventures into the professional world of boxing, just like Mike Tyson had before he became known in the annals of sports history.