International superstar Jake Paul (6-1, 4 KOs) finally faced a “real” boxer for the first time, and it was a bit more than he could handle as Tommy Fury (9-0, 4 KOs) handed him his first defeat via eight-round split decision Sunday night at Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Fury, the half-brother of Tyson Fury, pushed forward aggressively at the start of the fight, but Paul initiated clinches in order to avoid any significant damage. This pattern would continue for the rest of the fight.
In the second and third rounds, Fury made a crucial adjustment. Instead of coming forward, he spent more time on the outside where he could land jabs and right hands.
Paul became frustrated with Fury’s footwork and occasional combinations as the rounds progressed. In the fifth, Paul was deducted a point for hitting Fury behind the head. That point deduction was nullified after the 23-year-old Manchester native was himself deducted a point for clinching in the sixth round.
The later rounds were close, and it became clear that Paul’s widely publicized campaign as a pro boxer was enough for him to develop into a fighter who could create a competitive fight with Fury. In fact, the 26-year-old native of Cleveland, Ohio, even managed to send Fury to the canvas with a counter left jab in the final round.
Fury’s early lead, however, was enough for him to secure the victory as two judges scored it 76-73 for him while a third had it 75-74 for Paul.
Fury said, “For the past two years, this is all that has consumed my life. Broken rib. Denied access. Everybody thought I was running scared. Tonight, I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury.
“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.
“This is my first main event. I’m only going to get stronger, and I’m only going to get bigger. There were a lot of nerves going into that fight, but I override that. If he wants a rematch, bring it on.”
Paul said, “All respect to Tommy. He won. Don’t judge me by my wins. Judge me by my losses. I’ll come back. I think we deserve that rematch. It was a great fight. It was a close fight. I don’t know if I agree with the judges. I got a 10-8 round twice. So, it is what it is. 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.”
Badou Jack Wins Title in Third Weight Class
Badou Jack (28-3-3, 17 KOs) is now a three-division world champion. The 39-year-old scored a technical knockout victory over Ilunga Makabu (29-3, 25 KOs) to capture the WBC cruiserweight world title.
Jack boxed an intelligent fight, mixing footwork and counterpunching to consistently find a home for his right hand. Makabu, on the other hand, seemed too cautious and had trouble putting his punches together.
In the fourth round, Jack dropped Makabu with a right hand, and he repeated the knockdown in the 11th. In the final round, Makabu was clearly worn out from Jack’s offense, and Swedish standout only needed an additional right hand and a brief fusillade of shots to force referee Mark Lyson to stop the fight at :54.
Jack said, “I was standing there too much. My trainer told me to box and move. That’s not really my style. I mean, I box. But I also like to come forward and fight. 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.”
Welterweights: Ziyad Almaayouf (2-0, 1 KO) overcame a first-round knockdown before defeating Ronnald Martinez (3-2-1) via unanimous decision. Almaayouf began the fight aggressively and was dropped by a hard right hand before the first round ended. However, the native of Saudi Arabia kept his composure and dominated the following rounds. Scores: 38-37 3x.
Cruiserweights: Muhsin Cason (11-0, 8 KOs) scored a first-round stoppage over Taryel Jafarov (18-6, 17 KOs). Cason dropped Jafarov before the opening round ended, but Jafarov’s corner stopped the fight before the second round to prevent further punishment.
Junior Welterweights: Bader Samreen (8-0, 7 KOs) defeated Viorel Simion (23-10, 9 KOs) via first-round TKO. Time of stoppage: 1:26.