It is said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. The frightening news for Moses Itauma’s heavyweight rivals is that the unbeaten 19-year-old southpaw is now taking real pleasure in his work.

Itauma (9-0, 7 KOs) has always felt at home in the ring but is starting to become accustomed to the attention and the scrutiny a young heavyweight contender attracts. 

“I’m enjoying it. I used to think of boxing as a job, but I’m starting to enjoy it,” Itauma told Blighty Boxing. “The outside of it, getting to know the people. I’m blessed.

“I’ve been doing boxing since I was a kid, so I’m kind of used to everything. The only thing I’m not used to are the cameras and the media, but I’ve started it now and I’m getting more used to it.”

Heavyweight champions have a unique aura. It is something that is built by accomplishment and earned through reputation. 

Itauma has a long way to go but has been featured on major cards from the formative stages in his career and has grown increasingly at ease on the big stage. He carried himself like a future champion ahead of his second-round stoppage of Ilja Mezencev on the undercard of last month’s undisputed heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury, and while he is unlikely to ever scream, shout or kick up a fuss at press conferences, Itauma has assumed a laid-back, confident persona.

“I’d say it’s a weakness. People just want more answers,” Itauma said with a smile. “It’s definitely good [inside the ring]. Some things will [faze me], but I just like boxing and don’t really take anything personal or to heart. I just laugh when people take everything personal.”

Don’t mistake Itauma’s relaxed attitude for disinterest. Earlier this year he made the difficult decision to leave Dan Woldedge’s gym in Chatham, England, as he sought to open his horizons.

Alan Smith prepared him for his first-round win over Dan Garber in March, and Itauma agonized about who to entrust his career to, eventually settling on Ben Davison. Now he spends his days working in the same gym as two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and British champion Fabio Wardley. 

“I was training with Al Smith in the meantime. I love Al. I love Dan [Woldedge] Jr. and Dan Sr. They’ve done so much for me,” said Itauma, who should be back in action on the undercard of the Joe Joyce-Dereck Chisora fight in London on July 27. 

“I was training with Al and I tried out Ben Davison for a week or so and couldn’t pick between them.

“I sat down for three or four days and was literally writing everything down. Who to go with? It was so even: Do I leave Al or do I go to Ben? What do I do? I just had to come up with an answer.”