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Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury makes bold claim about Moses Itauma ahead of the Chatham teenager’s fight against Dan Garber at York Hall

Chatham boxer Moses Itauma is the “future of the heavyweight division” according to world champion Tyson Fury.

Fury made the claim on Instagram, responding to a comment from the Medway boxer regarding their recent sparring which Itauma described as “unique” and that he was “struck by it”.

Tyson Fury claims Moses Itauma is "the future of the heavyweight division"
Tyson Fury claims Moses Itauma is "the future of the heavyweight division"

Itauma said: “I woke up to (Fury’s response) - he’s been there and done what I want to do and so it was nice seeing that - not being too arrogant or brash but I kind of already knew it.”

Itauma is back in the ring tonight (Friday) at York Hall, ahead of his return to Riyadh in May, on the undercard for Fury’s much-anticipated clash with Oleksandr Usyk which will see one man crowned the undisputed heavyweight world champion.

That fight was due to take place on February 17, with Itauma also on the bill, but Fury pulled out with a cut picked up in sparring.

Itauma sparred Fury a week before the champion got cut during a session with Agron Smakici, a gash to the eye which led to the postponement of what’s been billed as one of the biggest boxing fights in history.

Itauma said: “I am a bit annoyed because everywhere I go they think it was me that cut him but I haven’t got a big hairy chest!

“I went to watch my brother box in Dagenham and these lot were like, ‘if anyone wants to know why the show’s not going on it’s him’, everyone was blaming me! I was like, ‘I didn’t do anything, I was literally at home!’”

A new date for the event of Saturday, May 18 at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia was agreed, but before that, Itauma will be fighting closer to home.

He’s back at the Bethnal Green venue where he fought last time out, making light work of Michal Boloz with a first-round KO win inside a minute.

Itauma faces Bradford’s Dan Garber tonight - a late replacement - who himself has described the 19-year-old Medway boxer as “the best heavyweight in the country expect for Fury and AJ (Anthony Joshua).”

Itauma responded by saying: “He’s fighting me - he shouldn’t be giving me complements like that!”

Garber (6-2) says he is coming into the fight with just five days’ notice after being offered “a year’s working wage for one fight.”

It could be a tough night for the Yorkshireman who has suffered two losses in his eight pro fights. He bounced back from an eighth-round TKO at the back end of last year by beating Joe Nakavulevu (1-6-1) with a second-round stoppage.

Itauma will be looking to take his own record to 8-0 as warm up for his return to Saudi Arabia but admits he’s getting a little annoyed at finishing opponents off so quickly.

He said: “Training eight weeks for a fight that last two minutes, it does your head in - I might make this go a little longer!

“Maybe this could go to the second or third round, and the only reason I say that is because he’s a southpaw, but it all depends.

“If two men weighing 18-stone plus, or whatever, come to have a fight it’s not going to go the distance, so it just depends on his side, but I am looking for a fight.”

Itauma could be fighting for a title in May but says he’s not looking beyond this one.

Asked if he would like that next show to be for a belt, he added: “I hope so but it’s not in my control.

“I am not thinking about that one, I am just thinking about Dan Garber.

“It is good to have dreams and aspirations that are ahead of you but the reality is the here and now and that’s all I’m thinking about at the moment.”

*Maidstone’s unbeaten welterweight Sean Noakes (6-0) is also fighting on the show at York Hall, taking on Marian Wesolowski in a scheduled six round contest.

Noakes is fighting for the first time since the end of September when he claimed a points victory over Lukasz Barabasz after negotiating the last four rounds with a broken thumb.

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