The respected Alan Smith is preparing Moses Itauma for his fight at York Hall on March 22.

Itauma fights for the eighth time as a professional against an opponent who is still to be confirmed, but he is increasingly being recognised as one of the world’s most exciting young heavyweights and is working with Smith in an attempt to accelerate his progress.

Itauma, 19 and from Chatham, Kent, has been working with Smith at Ibox Gym in Bromley since before the December 23 date in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that was ultimately abandoned.

“He come to my gym when he was 13 years old,” Smith told Boxing Scene. “I don’t [normally] let amateurs spar pros, but [super middleweight] Lerrone Richards moved him round, and said, ‘Woah – that was hard’. He didn’t go mad. I rung Frank [Warren, Itauma’s promoter] within 30 seconds and said, ‘I’ve just seen the next heavyweight champion of the world walk through the door – I’ve never seen anything like it’. 

“He’s got the fluidity and the movement and the speed. He’s not the biggest heavyweight but he’s only 19 – in two years’ time he’ll be a big kid. He’s got great skills. He can punch. He can move. He’s got a bit of everything. He wants to learn constantly.

“Skye Nicolson, who’s with us, had 150 amateur fights, so him only having 24, he’s still got a lot to learn. But I worked with Frank Maloney, and he said how there’s two types of boxing – boxing, and heavyweight boxing. It’s not the same sport.

“I think they’re picking him an undefeated opponent [for March 22]. If he had his way he’d fight [Oleksandr] Usyk tomorrow – he really believes in himself. That’s an attribute you have to have as a young man. But my advice to him is he should be patient, learn how to do six rounds; learn how to do eight; 10.”

Itauma is also on course to fight in Riyadh on the undercard of the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk on May 18. 

“Alan’s one of the top, top coaches in the UK, and he has a great stable, which is only going to be positive for Moses to be around,” said Itauma’s manager Francis Warren.  “I manage Sam Noakes and Henry Turner who are in the same gym, so I know that he’s keeping good company. It’ll be very beneficial for Moses to be around guys who are fighting at championship level.

“Alan’s got years and years of experience, and along with Eddie Lam got a great setup down at Ibox, which they forged a reputation at over the past 20 years. It’ll be nothing but beneficial for Moses to be a part of it. He’s enjoying himself down there; they work him hard and make sure he sticks to his programme. He’s had nothing but good things to say.

“Alan and I have got a terrific relationship, so I’m glad Moses has decided to go and spend some time with him, so we’ll see how we go.”