Jake Paul’s path to respectability as a boxer hit a roadblock Sunday when the media-influencer-turned fighter lost a split decision to Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia.
Paul, 26, entered with a record of 6-0 with four knockouts and was a heavy betting favorite, but Great Britain’s Fury, 23, was regarded as the first real professional boxer (now 9-0 with four KOs) he has faced.
Though Paul used a left jab to register the only knockdown in the eighth and final round, he didn’t do enough in the fight for judges Omar Mintun Sr. and Daniel Van de Wiele, who each scored it 76-73 for Fury. Judge Mike Ross scored it 75-74 for Paul.
Referee Hector Afu deducted one point from both Paul and Fury for fouls during the cruiserweight bout.
“I had a dream I would win, people doubted me, but everyone can take note now,” Fury said afterward. “I had the world on me, pressure on my shoulders and I came through. This is a world title fight to me, this is my destiny, my fate.
“This is my first main event. If he wants a rematch, bring it on!”
Paul, indeed, said he wanted a rematch.
“100%. Let’s run it back,” he said. “I felt flat — I got sick really bad twice in this camp, injured my arm. This wasn’t my best performance, but that’s no excuse. Don’t judge me by my wins, I’ll come back stronger.”
Paul called the result “a humbling experience.” Still, Fury gave him credit for a close bout, saying, “Jake Paul took some good shots — he’s a far better boxer than I thought he was.”
The bout at Diriyah Arena was the third attempt to get the pair together in the ring. They were scheduled for a December 2021 clash in Tampa, Fla., but Fury dropped out late with an injury/illness and Paul defeated Tyron Woodley instead.
Fury, the half-brother of heavyweight Tyson Fury, then was set to face Paul last August but was denied entry into the United States. Paul scheduled a fight with former MMA great Anderson Silva and defeated him in October.
“For the past two and a half years, this is all that’s consumed my life,” Fury said. “Broke rib, denied access (to the U.S.) and everybody thought I was running scared. Tonight, I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury.”
–Field Level Media