(Editor’s note: This story originally published at USA TODAY Sports.)
TAMPA, Fla. – On Dec. 18, YouTube sensation-turned-professional boxer Jake Paul will go head-to-head with professional boxer-turned-U.K.-reality-television star Tommy Fury. And according to Paul, he has zero chance of losing this bout.
“Tommy claims to have been doing this his whole life and he’s had this amateur career, and he’s been around it and that is true, but he hasn’t worked as hard as me,” Paul told media this week at a press event in Tampa, Fla., where the Showtime pay-per-view event will take place. “I see a green guy who hasn’t sparred enough times and who has only been put in there with opponents that were meant to lose. This is his first real test where his opponent just doesn’t flop over.”
Fury, the 22-year-old half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, is undefeated in his career (7-0) and is determined to shut up the trash-talking Paul once and for all.
“I feel like I’ve won the lottery,” Fury said this week via Zoom call, explaining why he agreed to fight Paul. “You’re asking me to fight on a massive world stage, you’re going to pay me nicely, and all I’ve got to do is fight Jake Paul. A YouTuber. I’m going to splatter him December 18. I’ve won the lottery. I’m begging Jake Paul, please do not pull out. Because normally, when we get to this stage in boxing, you’ve got to fight for a world title. But I’m fighting a YouTuber! Sign me up.”
Paul, 24, is also undefeated (4-0) in his short boxing career. The social media personality most recently fought former UFC champion Tyron Woodley and won by a split decision.
“Tyron Woodley was an unorthodox fighter,” Paul said. “MMA guys come in with different types of striking. When I fight a boxer, it’s going to be more of a chess match. More strategic. We’re going to be thinking a lot more in the ring. Woodley just came out throwing overhand rights. We have a game plan and we’ll be sticking to it. But I see a guy that’s green (Fury). He doesn’t have head movement. He can’t fight going backwards. He’s stiff. He’s rigid. He has fast hands and he has good combinations but we’re taking all of that away and there’s not going to be anything left for him to do.”
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Prior to Woodley, Paul fought British YouTube star Deji in 2018, as the co-main event for his brother Logan Paul’s match against Deji’s older sibling KSI. Paul then made his professional boxing debut at the beginning of 2020 against YouTuber AnEsonGib and won via first-round TKO. In November 2020, Paul took on former NBA player Nate Robinson in a fight that co-headlined Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. Paul knocked Robinson out, and followed that up with another KO win over former MMA fighter Ben Askren in February 2021.
Paul said his fight against Woodley was the “first real test that I passed.”
“A UFC Champion who dominated the UFC with his big overhand right. He hit me with a shot in the fourth round that was nothing. I ate it very easily and kept moving,” Paul said.
“I found a way to win and passed my first test in my fourth professional fight. Nobody from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson to Floyd Mayweather was testing themselves as much as I was in my fourth fight. I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of and performing under pressure. I look forward to bringing that experience to my next fight.”
The December fight will take place at Amalie Arena, home of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and Paul believes that is exactly where he belongs — fighting in an arena of title winners.
“I think you’re just born with it or something,” Paul told USA TODAY Sports about his unending confidence in winning. “I just can’t lose. It’s not an option. I have won my whole life at anything I decided to do. I don’t see why I can’t take over the sport of boxing and become one of the biggest prize fighters in the world. As a man, facing another man in the ring, I am prepared to die. So going in knowing that, gives you the ultimate confidence because I am not afraid of anything and nothing can stop me.”
The main event will be a sanctioned eight-round cruiserweight bout contested at a 192-pound catchweight.
“This kid’s chin has never been tested,” Paul said of Fury. “He’s only been put in with opponents that were meant to lose. I’ve never done that. All my fights were stepping into the unknown. For him, this is the first fight where the opponent isn’t just put in there to lose. On the biggest stage possible, in front of all these people, this young man will crack. He’s not battle-tested like me. He hasn’t lived the life that I have. He’s had a silver spoon in his mouth his whole entire life. He’s doing this because his brother does it. Because his dad told him to do it. This isn’t something he wants to do. If it was up to him, he’d be an Abercrombie & Fitch model.”
The undercard will include three-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Deron Williams, who will take on Frank Gore, the NFL’s third all-time leading rusher, Showtime announced Tuesday.
Puerto Rican boxer and current unified featherweight champion Amanda Serrano will also will be featured in the pay-per-view co-main event, facing 135-pound titleholder Miriam Gutierrez.
Jake Paul def. Tyron Woodley via split decision: Best photos
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