In Saudi Arabia on Sunday night, pro boxer-turned-reality TV star Tommy Fury edged out YouTuber Jake Paul in a split decision, handing Paul his first boxing loss.
At the conclusion of their eight-round cruiserweight bout at the Diriyah Arena near the Saudi capital Riyadh, two judges scored the fight 76-73 for Fury, while the third judge ruled 75-74 for Paul.
“In my first main event, at the age of 23, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I delivered,” Fury said after the bout. “In my opinion, this is a world title contest. I prepared arduously for this. This was my fate,”
Paul, a 26-year-old American with over 20 million YouTube subscribers, is now 6-1, whereas Fury, the younger half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, remains undefeated with nine wins despite taking time away from his boxing career in 2019 to appear on the reality television show “Love Island.”
Millions of fans were anticipated to watch the fight, the latest pay-per-view bout involving a YouTuber to generate social media excitement, as promoters emphasised the animosity between the two combatants. And, similar to a genuine world championship bout, there were numerous celebrities in attendance, including former champion Mike Tyson, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and comedian Kevin Hart.
Early on, Fury utilised his strike to keep Paul at bay, but in the fifth round, Paul gained momentum and appeared to startle Fury.
Paul in the fifth for forcing his opponent’s head down while clinching, and Fury in the sixth for excessive clinching, a defensive strategy that is typically only permitted for brief periods of time.
Paul struck Fury down with a short left hand in the eighth round, but it was too late as the judges ruled in Fury’s favour.
Paul stated that he intended to invoke a rematch clause if Fury triumphed in Sunday’s bout.
“All due respect to Tommy, he won; gauge me by my losses, not my victories.” “I’ll be back; I felt I deserved a rematch; it was a fantastic, close fight,” Paul said following the bout.
Paul only began boxing in 2018, but prior to Sunday he already had six victories, including four knockouts. However, Paul confronted Fury as his first professional combatant.