Moses Itauma Settles For Decision Win Over Durable Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko
18-year-old Moses Itauma is one of the most highly touted prospects that this country has ever seen. Unbeaten as an amateur, the World and European youth gold medallist is tipped to do big things in the professional ranks and he expects to achieve them at a phenomenal pace.
2 first-round KOs in his first two fights, Itauma made his third professional appearance on Saturday tonight at London’s Copper Box Arena, live on BT Sport.
An 18-year-old, 2-0 fighter especially as a Heavyweight is expected to get multiple more easy touches like Daniel Dubois had at the beginning of his career but the matchmaking was brave with 31-year-old Ukranian Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko in the opposite corner.
Dovbyshchenko had never been stopped and the consensus, or at least the expectation, was that Itauma would be the one to do it. Moses had to instead go the distance for the first time as a professional and settle for a 60-54 PTS decision win, something that nobody saw coming.
Itauma found out just how tough Dovbyshchenko was in the opening round and you could already tell that this was a distance fight. There was not enough variety in Itauma’s arsenal to give such an experienced fighter the problems required to force a stoppage.
The opponent didn’t really seem that uncomfortable after the initial onslaught and spent the majority of the second half on the front foot after he was comfortable with the power.
Depending on how you see it, that was either six valuable rounds in the bank or a disaster in the matchmaking sphere.
From the outside looking in, an inside-the-distance win over a veteran Heavyweight who had never been stopped as professional in twelve defeats was perhaps too much of an ask of an 18-year-old, regardless of how talented as an amateur he was.
Standard matchmaking at an early stage of a young fighter’s career coupled with the immense hype behind Itauma, the average fan can’t be blamed for just expecting another showreel performance in Itauma’s third fight and when that doesn’t happen, they may well be less invested in his career.
As it did with Anthony Joshua and Adam Azim this will undeniably hurt his stock. And this may also affect the confidence of Itauma in his own ability as he would’ve just expected to dispatch the Ukranian in devastating fashion.
However, it may turn out to be beneficial in the long term for Itauma to realise that not everyone’s going to fall over when he lets his hands go and there is still lots to work on for the undefeated prospect.
A similar question was posed with AJ’s performance a fortnight ago, is going the distance worth the drop in hype and stock?
In this case, the team behind Itauma may have thought it is, especially with the expected activity of Itauma giving him plenty of other opportunities for highlight reel KOs. This isn’t a two-fights/year boxer, there will be other chances to impress and these six rounds could do him the world of good; an early test like this can be the making of a fighter.
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