Tommy Fury hands Jake Paul his first pro defeat, wins split decision in Saudi Arabia
Tommy Fury handed Jake Paul his first professional defeat, winning an eight-round split decision on Sunday night at Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Two judges scored the bout 76-73 in favor of Fury (9-0, 4 knockouts), the half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, while the third had it 75-74 in favor of the social media star Jake Paul (6-1, 4 KOs) in their catchweight bout.
Fury built an early lead with his ability to control the fight at long range, landing 1-2 combinations on Paul, who showed his frustration by earning a point deduction in round 5 for hitting behind the head. Fury, 23, of Manchester, England also was deducted a point in the following round for holding, though it appeared that Paul, 26, of Cleveland, Ohio had initiated the holding.
Desperately behind on points, Paul needed something big in the final round. He came up with a knockdown with a jab, but it appeared that Fury’s foot slipped on the mid-ring logos. Still, it was not enough to pull out the victory.
After the fight, Fury voiced his relief with the win, as he looked back on the broken rib that prevented the fight from happening in 2021, and being denied entry to the United States for another fight date against Paul last year.
“Everybody thought I was running scared. Tonight, I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury,” said Fury.
Heatin' up 👀 #PaulFury
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— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) February 26, 2023
“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.”
Paul initially said that he didn’t dispute the loss, but then added, “I don’t know if I agree with the judges.”
“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 I would,” said Paul.
For those more interested in a more traditional boxing match, the co-main event delivered as Badou Jack (28-3-3, 17 KOs) became a two-division world champion with a twelfth round stoppage of Ilunga Makabu (29-3, 25 KOs) to win the WBC cruiserweight title.
It was mostly one-way traffic as the Swedish-born Jack dropped Makabu once in the fourth and again in the eleventh, both with right hands. Jack closed the show in impressive fashion, pummeling the 35-year-old southpaw along the ropes before referee Mark Lyson halted the fight at the 54-second mark.
Jack, 39, had previously held the WBC super middleweight title, and also held a secondary belt at 175 pounds.
He critiqued his approach to the fight, saying he doesn’t usually stand and trade punches as much.
“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,” said Jack.