KAROL ITAUMA TALKS TOMMY FURY, LIGHT-HEAVY LANDSCAPE AND BECOMING UNDISPUTED CHAMP
The professional ambitions of Karol Itauma are not open to charges of ambiguity. The Olympic Youth gold medallist simply plans on ruling the light heavy mob.
‘Undisputed’ is the Itauma buzzword and the now 20-year-old even pencilled himself a little reminder to post by his bedside while growing up in Kent.
Also an eight-time national champion as an amateur, Itauma set off on his professional journey on short notice in December after willingly accepting an invitation to jump on big Lyndon Arthur-Anthony Yarde show in London.
He gave a good account of himself against the redoubtable Lewis van Poetsch, who was drafted in to get the storied amateur – who initially hails from Slovakia – off the mark in the pro ranks. Itauma will have a second outing, this time with a full preparation period, when he takes his place on the Denzel Bentley-Felix Cash British middleweight title card on April 24.
But Itauma has far grander plans for a glittering future of dominance in his division. He is setting his goals high and has every intention of reaching for the stars.
“That is my dream, undisputed champion,” said the 6ft 1″ southpaw, who was less emphatic over placing a timeframe on achieving such lofty heights. “From when I started boxing I had a little note by my bedside and the aim has always been to be undisputed and win those titles.
“I didn’t put a year alongside it because, in my opinion, if you put a date to it you could arguably start to rush things. You have to take your time with things like that and mature properly and develop.”
For now though, the Itauma development will continue at York Hall, where he will seek to demonstrate that preparation and practice make perfect.
“I wasn’t meant to box until this year, but when I got offered a debut on 10 days notice I wasn’t going to not take an opportunity I’d been given.
“In my opinion, obviously you are going to be in better shape – physically and mentally – after a four to six week training camp, rather than 10 days notice.
“It is all about the marginal gains and, if I had more time, I could have been better.
“I just look at this one coming up as a next fight and one I am taking very seriously. For me, it is all about learning, gaining experience, getting better and improving.”
Aside from the British and Commonwealth middleweight title showdown, there is a strong light heavyweight theme running throughout the April 24 bill. Callum Johnson makes his Queensberry return against the experienced Emil Markic, while Anthony Yarde will be bidding to get back to winning ways against the unbeaten German Emin Atra.
“Absolutely and it is obviously great to see the division thriving. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and are effective in their different ways.
“Tommy Fury is around too. At the moment we are on different tracks but I have to focus on myself and on getting better each day. In every fight I want you to be able to see an improvement,” added Itauma, who admits executing a spectacular finish does carry some appeal.
“A part of me does want it, but I am not the type of fighter to go in there and have that on my mind because that is when things go wrong. I just want to stick to the game plan and go from there.
“I feel like I need to get my foundations correct now, while I am learning and maturing. I am not a man yet so I need to get my fundamentals right first. Then when I do mature and get my man strength it will come together nicely.”