Jake Paul, facing first 'real' boxer, suffers decision loss to Tommy Fury
Brit gets knocked down in final round but wins split verdict
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The critics had called for Jake Paul to fight a “real boxer” and when he did he finally met his match.
Tommy Fury, who was brought up in a boxing family and is the younger half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, won an eight-round split decision over Paul, the actor, YouTube personality and social media influencer turned boxer, on Sunday in a pay-per-view main event at the outdoor Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Two judges had it 76-73 for Fury and one judge had it 75-74 for Paul, who scored a clean knockdown in the final round.
But it was not enough for Paul to preserve his perfect record, which had been compiled against a fellow social media influencer (Ali Eson Gib), a retired basketball player (Nate Robinson) and three MMA fighters — Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley (twice) and Ben Askren — who crossed over to boxing to face him.
Fury, however, is a full-time boxer —who also gained fame for his appearance on the British reality television series “Love Island” — and vowed not to be beaten by the upstart Paul, who only began boxing about four years ago.
“All respect to Tommy,” Paul said. “He won. Don’t judge me by my wins. Judge me by my losses. I’ll come back.”
Fury won because he simply threw and landed way more punches than Paul, despite suffering a knockdown, and because Paul struggled to find any offensive consistency.
The fight finally took place after having being called off twice before when Fury withdrew both times, first in December 2021 because he claimed to have a broken rib and chest infection.
The fight was rescheduled for last August but canceled again when Fury was not allowed to board a flight from his home country of England to the United States for the news conference to announce the second try because of his family’s ties to reputed Irish mobster Daniel Kinahan, who the U.S. government has placed a $5 million bounty on.
All along, Paul and Fury trash talked each other relentlessly and led to the fight being made for a third time.
“For the past two years, this is all that has consumed my life. Broken rib. Denied access (to enter the U.S.). Everybody thought I was running scared,” Fury said. “Tonight, I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury.
“All through these past two years, I had a dream and a vision that I would win this fight. And no one believed me. Now I can stand up and everybody can take note. It’s my first main event at 23 years old. I had pressure on my shoulders, and I came through. This to me was a world title fight. I trained so hard for this. This was my destiny, this was my fate.”
According to CompuBox statistics, Fury landed 88 of 302 punches (29 percent) and Paul connected with just 49 of 157 (31 percent). Fury outlanded Paul in every round, held him to single digit lands in all but the third round (when he landed 10 shots), and doubled him in power punches landed (49-24).
Paul constantly looked to land his best weapon, which is his overhand right, but rarely could land it cleanly. Fury (8-0, 4 KOs), 23, threw straighter punches and was busy with his jab. Fury’s movement also seemed to give Paul trouble.
In the fifth round, referee Hector Afu, docked one point from Paul, who had been warned for pushing Fury’s head down when they clinched. It was in that same round when Paul landed one of his better punches of the fight, a left hook that backed Fury up.
In the middle of the fight, Paul (6-1, 4 KOs), 26, of Cleveland, suffered a bruise under his right eye from taking so many rights hands from Fury, whom Afu docked a point from for excessive holding in the sixth round.
Near the end of the seventh round, Fury suffered a cut by his left eye from an accidental head butt.
Twenty seconds into the eighth round, Paul landed a left jab down the middle that forced Fury to touch his left glove to the mat for the only knockdown of the fight, but it was not enough to pull him ahead.
Paul has the right to a rematch in his contract and indicated he planned to exercise that option.
“I think we deserve that rematch,” Paul said. “It was a great fight. It was a close fight. I don’t know if I agree with the judges. I got a 10-8 round twice. So, it is what it is. I’ve already won in life, man. I’ve already won in every single way. I have an amazing family, amazing friends, amazing work ethic. I’ve made it farther than I ever thought that I would and beyond. This is definitely a humbling experience. I’ll take it on the chin, get back in the gym, and we can run it back because I think we put on an amazing show for the fans.
“Honestly, I felt flat. I got sick really bad twice in this camp. Injured my arm. So, it wasn’t my best performance but I lost. I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying it wasn’t my best performance. I felt a little flat, but we’re gonna come back and get that W. I’m gonna come back stronger.”
Fury, who earned a reported $2 million to Paul’s $3 million, said he would happily honor the rematch clause.
“I’m only going to get stronger, and I’m only going to get bigger,” Fury said. “There were a lot of nerves going into that fight, but I override that. If he wants a rematch, bring it on.”
Jack wins cruiserweight title
Badou Jack, in the twilight of his career, scored two knockdowns en route to a 12th-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu to win the WBC cruiserweight title in the co-feature.
Jack, who is a former super middleweight and lightweight titleholder, won a world title in a third division at age 39.
Jack, who was walked to the ring by Mike Tyson, won his sixth fight in a row since a disputed split decision loss to Jean Pascal in a light heavyweight title bout in 2019. It was also Jack’s fourth straight win since making the move up to the 200-pound division in 2021, and he did so in an action fight.
He used his height and reach advantage to go with his powerful right hand and effective counterpunching against the slower and shorter Makabu (29-3, 25 KOs), 35, a southpaw from Congo, who was making his third title defense but fighting for the first time in 13 months.
With a minute remaining in the fourth round, Jack landed a short right hand to the chin that sent Makabu to the mat, where he tumbled over, got to a knee and quickly beat the count.
In the ninth round, Jack (28-3-3, 17 KOs), a Sweden native, who spent most of his pro career fighting out of Las Vegas and now is based in Dubai, bloodied Makabu’s nose with one of the many rights hands he landed.
As the fight wore on Jack began to dominate. He took it to Makabu in the 10th round with a series of lefts hands and in the 11th round he landed a pair of sharp right hands that dropped Makabu for the second time.
Makabu looked exhausted after the 11th and his corner told him he needed to stop Jack in the final round to retain his belt. But it was the fresher Jack who came out strong and took care of business in the 12th round.
Jack staggered Makabu with a clean right hand that sent him into the ropes and followed up with an onslaught of about 10 unanswered punches, forcing referee Mark Lyson to step in at 54 seconds. Jack was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the knockout, 106-101, 106-101 and 104-103.
“I was standing there too much,” Jack said. “My trainer (Johnathon Banks) told me to box and move. That’s not really my style. I mean, I box. But I also like to come forward and fight. Makabu is a hell of a fighter. He’s an African brother of mine. We used to be training partners. He is still my brother.”
According to CompuBox, Jack landed 231 of 571 punches (41 percent), including a whopping 61 percent of his power shots (177 of 291), and Makabu landed 242 of 845 punches (29 percent).
Photos: Skill Challenge Entertainment
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I have to say I didn’t feel Jake was going to survive this fight with Tommy.
Tommy has probably been boxing from a very young age and comes from family of fighters. Jake showed he’s a great athlete and he can box and hold his own as a pro, he just doesn’t have the experience. He won my respect for taking the risk and he certainly didn’t get his ass whooped by any means. I’m happy for both fighters earning $5m between them, wow!
It was a good fight Dan but what was really good was the Jack Makabu fight I got my money’s worth so I am happy