Tommy Fury will go down in history as the first person to beat Jake Paul in the ring.
Fury defeated Paul via split decision (74-75, 76-73, 76-73) in their long-awaited grudge match Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to remain undefeated as a professional boxer.
“This, to me, is a world title fight,” Fury said in his postfight interview. “I trained so hard for this.”
He added: “All the way through these two-and-a-half years, I had a dream, I had a vision that I would win this fight. No one believed me. Now I can stand up and everyone can take note.”
Paul scored the lone knockdown of the fight, briefly dropping Fury with a left jab in the eighth and final round. Fury seemed to contest the referee’s ruling and fought on, and although a big moment for Paul, it wasn’t enough to secure him the victory.
This fight was promoted as the biggest challenge of Paul’s career – and it played out that way, too. The YouTube star-turned-prizefighter hadn’t fought someone with actual boxing experience before Sunday. Fury, best known as the half-brother of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and a former “Love Island” reality star, came into the match with eight professional victories under his belt.
“All respect to Tommy,” Paul said in his postfight interview, adding that the defeat was a humbling experience. “He won. Don’t judge me by my wins; judge me by my losses. I’ll come back.”
Both Fury and Paul, who had been on a collision course since 2021, expressed interest in a rematch. Paul has the option to activate a rematch clause that was in his contract for the fight. Fury did not have such a clause.
“This is my first main event,” Fury said. “I’m only going to go stronger, I’m only going to go bigger, and I’m only going to go better. … If he wants a rematch, bring it on.”
“I think we deserve that rematch,” Paul said. “It was a great fight and a close fight. I don’t know if I agree with the judges.”
Fury’s movement, volume, and length seemed to puzzle Paul throughout the contest. He outstruck Paul 88-49 in punches and 49-24 in power shots. The Brit was more aggressive, seemed to be the more athletic boxer, and stayed busier.
Paul’s best rounds – other than the eighth because of the knockdown – were the third and fifth, in which he landed a handful of jabs and overhand right hands.
The referee got involved in the fight more than necessary. He took a point from Paul in the fifth round due to an apparent punch to the back of Fury’s head and then took a point from Fury in the sixth stanza for apparently grabbing his opponent.
Paul said afterward he “felt flat” in the fight. He said he got sick twice and injured his arm during his training camp.
“It wasn’t my best performance,” Paul said. “But I lost. I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying it wasn’t my best performance. … We’re going to come back and get that W.”
The victory marks the biggest of Fury’s career as the 23-year-old moves to 9-0 as a professional boxer.
Paul, who falls to 6-1, has taken the boxing world by storm since turning pro in January 2020. Going into the Fury fight, he was coming off an impressive win over UFC legend Anderson Silva last October. And in 2021, he beat former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (twice) and ex-MMA titleholder Ben Askren.
Before losing to Fury, Paul, 26, had said he wanted to face former UFC star Nate Diaz next.
“The Problem Child” recently signed a deal with the PFL, one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world, and is expected to make his MMA debut later in 2023 or in 2024.
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