Tommy Fury defeats Jake Paul in Saudi showdown
RIYADH— Jake Paul suffered the first loss of his fledgling boxing career as he was edged out by Tommy Fury at the Diriyah Arena on Sunday, with the British reality TV star scoring a split decision win against the American social media star.
Watched by luminaries such as Fury’s half-brother and current WBC heavyweight champ Tyson, former champion Mike Tyson and football player Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently joined Saudi club Al Nassr, Paul’s considerable shortcomings were highlighted as Fury picked him off over eight rounds.
“Tonight I made my own legacy, I made my own legacy,” Fury said, finally stepping out of the shadow of his illustrious boxing family.
“All the way through these two and a half years, I had a dream, a vision, and no-one believed me. Now they can stand up and take note,” he added.
Fury had the better of the opening exchanges but Paul began to settle in the third as he tried to lure his opponent forward and counter with big right hands.
— ESPN (@espn) February 26, 2023
In a bout short on technical quality, Paul looked to be turning the tide when he had a point deducted in the fifth round for a blow to the back of Fury’s head, but Fury had a point chalked off for holding in the sixth to even things up again.
A short left hand downed Fury in the eighth and final round to shift the momentum in Paul’s favor to set up a grandstand finish in which both men chased a knockout punch that never materialized.
“All respect to Tommy, he won, don’t judge me by my wins, judge me by my losses. I’ll come back, I thought I deserve that rematch, it was a great fight, a close fight,” Paul said in the ring as his boxing record slipped to six wins and one loss.
In the co-main event challenger Badou Jack put on a clinical display of boxing, stopping Ilunga Makabu in the 12th and final round to win the WBC cruiserweight title, the third weight class in which the 39-year-old Swede has held a world title.
Jack downed Makabu with a big right hand in the fourth round and decked him again in a similar manner in the 11th, and though South African Makabu’s undoubted power posed a threat until late in the fight, he eventually capitulated.
With his corner telling him ahead of the final round that he needed a knockout to win, Makabu came out swinging, but Jack’s crisp combinations overcame him, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight as the Swede claimed the belt.