Jake Paul could handle aging MMA fighters and a retired basketball player. A young boxer proved to be too much for him.
Tommy Fury defeated the YouTuber-turned-boxer by a split decision even though he went down in the final round of an eight-round 185-pound fight Sunday night in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Two judges had Fury winning by the same score, 76-73. One scored it for Paul, 75-74 (four rounds apiece). Boxing Junkie scored it 75-74 for Fury, five rounds to three.
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Fury (9-0, 4 KOs) used his superior speed and skill set to stick and move much of the fight, which allowed him to land punches consistently and avoid many of Paul’s biggest shots. And when he couldn’t slip away from danger, he simply held.
Those tactics seemed to frustrate Paul (6-1, 4 KOs) at times but he continued to stalk Fury much of the bout and managed to land some of the cleanest, hardest punches of the night.
One of those punches was a jab that put Fury on the canvas about 20 seconds into the final frame, which gave Paul a 10-8 round and raised his hopes of maintaining his perfect record.
However, it wasn’t to be. The fact Fury demonstrated effective ring generalship — controlling the pace and distance, landing more punches overall, taking relatively little punishment — evidently impressed the judges who had Fury winning.
Paul arguably landed the bigger punches, including several of his overhand rights. That apparently swayed the third judge.
Both fighters lost one point for fouls.
Fury, the half-brother of heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, was tearful after he was announced the winner, which capped a two-year journey to his showdown with Paul. The fight was canceled twice before it came to fruition.
“The past 2½ years consumed my life,” Fury said in a shaky voice. “A broken rib, denied access [into the United States]. Tonight I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury.”
Paul said afterward that he wasn’t at his best, in part the result of illness and an undisclosed injury in training camp.
At the same time, he gave Fury credit for his victory. And he acknowledged the humbling nature of his first setback, which is particularly painful because it came against a bitter rival on a huge stage .
“All respect to Tommy,” Paul said. “… I’ll come back. I think I deserve a rematch. It was a great fight, a close fight. I don’t know if I agree with the judges. I got a 10-8 round twice. It is what it is.
“… This is a humbling experience. I’ll take it on the chin. I’ll get back in the gym and we’ll run it back because I think we put on an amazing show for the fans tonight.”
A rematch clause in the contract for the fight would give Paul another shot at Fury.
How does the winner feel about that?
“100 percent,” Fury said. “That was my first main event. I’ll only get stronger, get bigger, get better. If he wants a rematch, bring it on.”