Jake Paul’s first fight against a true boxer didn’t go as planned.
Tommy Fury handed the YouTuber-turned-boxer the first loss of his career on Sunday night at Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fury beat Paul via a split decision in the eight-round bout despite being knocked down in the final round.
The judges scored it 76-73 twice for Fury and 75-74 once for Paul.
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) February 26, 2023
Paul said after the fight that he didn’t agree with the judges’ decision, and that he both got sick twice in camp and injured his arm — statements that drew boos from the crowd.
“But I lost. I’m not making excuses,” Paul said. “I’m just saying it wasn’t my best performance. I fell flat.”
Fury seemed to have a slight edge throughout most of the fight, but Paul was right in the mix and landed plenty of great punches of his own. Both fighters had a point deducted in the later rounds, too, for seemingly landing a punch to the back of the other’s head.
It was in the eighth round, however, when Paul bounced back and made his move after a slow seventh. Paul came out early with a left-handed jab that sent Fury stumbling back and down to the mat briefly — which marked the first and only knockdown of the bout.
“That wasn’t a knockdown, that was a slip,” Fury said. “That was genuinely a slip. I got up … I came right back into it.”
Fury didn’t seem too fazed by the knockdown and came out firing to close out the fight, landing several blows of his own to keep the advantage and grab the split-decision win. Fury threw almost double the amount of punches than Paul did in the fight, and landed 88 compared to just 49 from Paul.
“All the way through these 2 1/2 years, I had a dream, I had a vision that I would win this fight, and no one believed me,” an emotional Fury said in the ring after his win. “Now I can stand up and everybody can take note. In my first main event, at 23 years old, I had the world on me. I had pressure on my shoulders, and I came through.”
Sunday’s fight was Paul’s biggest to date. Up until his bout with Fury, Paul has only taken on MMA fighters, another YouTuber and a former NBA player in the ring. His last win came in October after he outlasted 47-year-old former MMA star Anderson Silva.
While Fury is as real of a boxer as Paul has faced in his career, he’s not done much. Fury, the half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, held an 8-0 record with four knockouts headed into Sunday’s fight, which sounds impressive on its face. His eight opponents, however, held a combined 24-176-5 overall record — which isn’t great.
One of Paul’s biggest criticisms is that he hadn’t fought a real boxer. While Fury is as close to that as he’s come, it’s still not as great as the two have tried to make it out to be in the lead-up to Sunday’s fight.
But in the end, it doesn't matter much anymore. Up against the best fighter he's seen so far in his career, Paul lost.
If Paul ever wants to run it back, Fury is ready.
“If he wants a rematch, he can have a rematch,” Fury said.