Guiding Moses Itauma to the world heavyweight title represents the biggest responsibility of Francis Warren’s career, and he has revealed the extent of the plan he has in place to take Britain’s most exciting prospect to the very top.

The 19 year old, on the undercard of Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk, stopped Ilja Mezencev inside two rounds to record the ninth victory of his promising professional career. 

It wasn’t long after Fury started his second reign as world champion that Daniel Dubois – also once considered Britain’s finest young heavyweight – lost for the first time, to the also once highly-regarded Joe Joyce.

Joyce’s reputation was harmed by successive, damaging defeats by Zhilei Zhang when he was on the verge of challenging for a world title, and Dubois’ will only truly recover if he defeats Filip Hrgovic on June 1. Above them remain Fury, who lost for the first time – in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – against Usyk, and Anthony Joshua, who is expected to fight the winner of Hrgovic-Dubois next, but beyond them it is Itauma most consistently being spoken about, and who is increasingly expected to succeed Fury and Joshua in the long-term.

“The route map for him is WBO top 15; he’s contracted to five more fights before the end of January ’25; he’ll be nice and busy,” said Warren, the son of the Hall of Fame promoter Frank. “It was eight [fights], but they’re 10 rounders now, so we’ve cut it by two. The idea will be 14 fights by January ’25, and then we’ll see who’s got the belts and see who’s got the rankings and see who’s got European and British [titles]. There’s certain fights out there he’s definitely ready for, that are exciting. Demsey McKean – I like that fight by the end of the year, or certainly by February, March next year.

“I can sit there and map out this unbelievable journey – this is where you pull in all of your resources, and all of your contacts. We should go straight into the WBO top 15, and then you start picking them off.

“[But] no one’s rushing anybody. No one’s rushing him to fight someone we don’t think he’s ready for. From a management point of view it’s just about taking a breath – not rushing anything. I’d love him to be up there headlining, but we’re not there yet. However good he is, we’ve got to be patient. You can be guilty sometimes of going too quick, too early. There are A-minus level, or B-plus level world heavyweights – not the top, top guys – who I’d be confident he could have a good fight with. But you’re left with some serious egg on your face if he got in there and got ‘old-manned’ – someone sat behind their jab for 10 rounds, 12 rounds, and he got frustrated and didn’t have the experience to deal with it. 

“So much is about being patient – him; me; Queensberry [Promotions]; Ben [Davison, his trainer]; everybody – and picking the right moments. I’d like to be fighting for the British title by the end of the year. He’s the future of the heavyweight division. How quickly that future comes around, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

If America’s Jared Anderson continues to be recognised as the world’s finest young heavyweight, it is Itauma who has potentially potent links to Fury via his promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry, and who trains alongside Joshua at his new trainer Ben Davison’s gym.

“It’s very exciting,” Francis Warren continued. “I worked with his brother Karol, so I’ve known the family for four years, and they’ve all got a very determined mindset, which helps me, because it’s not like I’ve got to try to convince them to go the extra mile.

“Moving to Ben, it’s gone to that next bit of ambition – being around ‘AJ’, day in, day out. He’s got champions in the gym like Leigh Wood. He had a fantastic time with Al Smith [previously]. He wants to develop quite quickly.

“It feels like he’s learning every day, which for me was important to hear. It’s quite an analytical approach to the way they operate in the gym. [Davison’s assistant] Lee Wylie’s in there every day, analysing opponents; little movements of footwork and head movement. It’s a good move. You’re always nervous about changes in something that’s going well, and they haven’t put a foot wrong yet. 

“We’re only 18 months in – but so far, so good. Everyone in the gym has really warmed to him and welcomed him. You’ve got some good sparring in there; Anthony’s given him some advice. Fingers crossed he’ll be involved in Anthony’s training camp – it’s not for me to say – because it’s invaluable experience. What Ben’s done in his short training career – helped Fury massively, and coached him in that [in 2018, Deontay] Wilder draw; Leigh Wood title fights, against Michael Conlan, when everyone thought it was a foregone conclusion after the first couple of rounds. Ben knows how to get his guys to dig deep, and that’s very important as well, because there will be nights when Moses comes up against someone he can’t blast away in a round, and will be sticking his head on his chest and stamping on his feet. I know Moses has got dog in him, but I think he needs ‘boxing dog’ as well – to know how to fiddle through a round. 

“I’ve had Sam Noakes from day one, and navigated him through to the European [lightweight] title. Everything you look back on is an experience gained to help you with tomorrow. I’ve had disasters with some fighters – not getting along with them, and you break up. Lerrone Richards, for example – he won his title and on the Monday morning he said, ‘Thanks very much – I’d like to leave you’. At the time it really cuts you deep, but looking back – that was a while ago – you just think, ‘C’est la vie’, and have to crack on. But at the time you put your heart and soul into something, and when it doesn’t work out, it does hurt. 

“It’s a relationships business. Moses and I have developed quite a good understanding and a great bond, and I think he trusts me to navigate his career – alongside my dad, which is vitally important, with his experience. 

“Sam Noakes is almost like a little brother. I love Henry Turner to bits. But the expectation levels on Moses are different to any of the other guys I’ve worked with, so it’s quite a unique situation to find myself in – to have to be managing a guy who’s destined for the top; who’s expected to get to the top. The expectation level’s quite different, and that’s why I’m quite relaxed about it, because the opportunities will come.”

Francis’ younger brother George is increasingly influential at Queensberry Promotions, but it is perhaps with Itauma that Francis will, more than ever before, make his mark. The 40 year old has watched his father guide Frank Bruno and Fury to world titles; he has also complemented Frank Warren’s relatively recent venture into Saudi Arabia with agreeing for Itauma contracts with giants of the commercial world.

“I work for Moses,” he said. “I’m an independent manager now. But in terms of gaining experience you can’t get better advice than from someone who’s going to make sure Moses gets a push, because he’s with me. Call it nepotism at the highest level, but I don’t give a shit. We’re all here to earn money and do well and form a good business, and put on a good product. Go and ask Kalle [Sauerland] and Eddie [Hearn] if their dads helped them do well. It’s just the nature of this business that we’re all very close-knit and we all work very hard for each other as a family. 

“But like I said, I do work for Moses, and I am his manager – it’s my job to make sure his fights get delivered; the right opponents get delivered, and as far as I’m concerned the buck stops with me.

“We went back to the hotel [in Riyadh, during the week of Fury-Usyk], and [Itauma] stood up, looked round, and said, ‘I’m just gonna sit for a bit and soak it in’. He’s really, really enjoying himself. When he first boxed [in Saudi Arabia, in 2023] we went for a phenomenal meal – we were invited guests at His Excellency’s [Turki Alalshikh], and on the drive home he was like, ‘Francis, this is unreal – compared to a year ago; the dinners I’m having…’. 

“Everything he’s doing – he’s fighting on big cards. But he’s also saying how much he appreciates the promotion he gets when he’s fighting at York Hall. He’s not all about the big time. Every experience he’s gaining, although it’s short so far – he’s developing into a man in front of the world, and it can’t be easy. He’s coping with the pressure extremely well. He is laidback, but he takes it all very, very seriously. He’s a serious man, and it’s the boxing world that’s starting to sit up and take notice of him. 

“He’s got some fantastic sponsors – Nike have bought into him already. A blue-chip brand that’s attached themselves to him. He’s got in and met the CEOs and the powers that be at these companies, and they bought into him and they believe him, and that reflects very well on his personality – he’s not just a robotic, ‘I wanna do this and I wanna do that’. You ask him a question, he’s quite a deep thinker. 

“He’s a very likeable, good looking young man who’s on a one-way ticket to the top.”