Featured image: via Queensberry Promotions on X.
British heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma kicked off the live portion of the Tyson Fury versus Francis Ngannou undercard with a first-round stoppage over Hungary’s Istvan Bernath.
The latter had won ten of his eleven professional outings but the 18-year-old Itauma, fighting in his sixth pro bout, dropped the Hungarian before eventually stopping him on his feet midway through the first.
Referee John Latham had seen enough, stepping in to save Bernath from further punishment with 1:05 remaining on the clock and securing Itauma’s fourth stoppage victory as a pro.
Itauma has been the subject of considerable attention this week as the eyes of the world centre on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the event being dubbed as the ‘Battle of the Baddest’.Embed from Getty Images
Above: Itauma has now won four of his six fights via stoppage. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
The former two-time national champion spoke of a conversation with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in fight week as he continues to progress in the paid ranks.
“He said ‘not everyone you face is a bum, there are no bums in boxing’ and you can learn from every fight, especially the ones you lost’, but I’m not trying to lose in this game,” Itauma said.
“My power’s there. Uncle Frank [Warren, promoter] told me I’ve gotta let my hands go so obviously, that’s what I had to do.”
Hall of Fame promoter Warren is renowned for developing fighters and taking them to the top level but admits the difficult task he faces in matching Itauma who only turned professional in January.
“It is hard because obviously he’s very ambitious and he’s saying he wants to win a world title in record time,” Warren told TNT Sports.
“But you’ve got to learn your craft and we’ve gotta make the right matches and pick the right fighters at the right time. He’s got a good boxing brain, fast hands and he’s a ferocious puncher.”
Fury faces MMA star Ngannou in the main event
WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury faces former UFC king Francis Ngannou over ten rounds in the main event to kick off the Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.
Fury, whose WBC title is not on the line, is set to meet unified champion Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed showdown providing he emerges unscathed against boxing debutant Ngannou tonight.
British heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley also looks for the first defence of his title against the unbeaten David Adeleye, while former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker takes on Canada’s Simon Kean.