Tommy Fury handed Jake Paul the first loss of his professional boxing career on Sunday (Monday AEDT), but the farcical spectacle has been widely panned in the boxing world. Paul's first fight against an actual boxer didn't go as planned, with Fury handing the YouTuber-turned-fighter the first loss of his career at Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Despite being knocked down in the final round, Fury was declared the winner via a split decision after the eight-round fight. Paul said afterwards that he didn’t agree with the judges’ decision. He also claimed that he fell ill while in camp and injured his arm - statements that both drew boos from the crowd.
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“But I lost. I’m not making excuses,” Paul said. “I’m just saying it wasn’t my best performance. I fell flat.”
Fury, who was formerly on reality TV show Love Island, dedicated the win to his baby daughter and partner Molly-Mae Hague. “I want to dedicate this fight to my new baby girl Bambi at home and my Mrs, I love you," he said.
Fury claimed he wasn't knocked down in the final round, but slipped. “That wasn’t a knockdown, that was a slip,” he said. “That was genuinely a slip. I got up … I came right back into it.”
Fury seemed to dominate the fight, but Paul threatened a boilover in the final round. However Fury didn’t seem phased by the knockdown/slip and came out firing to close out the fight. He landed several blows of his own to keep the advantage and grab the split-decision win.
“All the way through these two and a half years, I had a dream, I had a vision that I would win this fight, and no one believed me,” he said in the ring after the fight, which had been postponed twice before. “Now I can stand up and everybody can take note.
"In my first main event, at 23 years old, I had the world on me. I had pressure on my shoulders, and I came through.”
Jake Paul and Tommy Fury savaged over 'awful' scenes
Sunday’s fight in Saudi Arabia marked the biggest of Paul’s career to date. Up until this bout, the social media star had only fought MMA fighters, another YouTuber and a former NBA player in the ring. His last win came in October after he outlasted 47-year-old former MMA star Anderson Silva.
Fury, the half-brother of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, has a 9-0 record with four knockouts. However his previous eight opponents held a combined 24-176-5 overall record.
According to reports, Paul will take home about AU$12.8 million from the prize purse, pay-per-view subscriptions and sponsorships. Fury will get $6.6 million despite taking the win.
Fury and Paul will now likely trigger a rematch clause in the fight contract. “If he wants a rematch, he can have a rematch,” Fury said.
However fight fans might not be too keen to watch it. Pundits and commentators flocked to social media on Sunday to decry the 'awful' and 'farcical' scenes, with both fighters copping deductions for illegal blows throughout the fight and not landing many good punches at all.
This is awful. Like watching a white-belt jiu jitsu match. #PaulFury
— Philip O'Connor (@philipoconnor) February 26, 2023
— Steven Winstone (@steven_winstone) February 26, 2023
Wouldn’t be mad if I never saw Tommy Fury or Jake Paul box again lol. Neither fighter has any future whatsoever in the sport. The fact the wbc is going to rank one of them is a joke. #PaulFury
— MMA Prediction Guru (@PredictionMma) February 26, 2023
That was an awful spectacle. Jake Paul a long way off the elite level, as is Tommy Fury. Commentary crew rode Paul way too hard and the ref tried making it all about him. But we’ll get a rematch no doubt. #PaulFury
— James McKern (@jLmcKern) February 26, 2023
— Davies (@hayleydavies121) February 26, 2023
Can we stop taking Jake seriously as a fighter?? What a disgrace to the sport. #PaulFury
— Jonathan L. Basshound (@Jon_Basshound) February 26, 2023
There were also those who found the referee's actions very off-putting, while one of the judges came under heavy fire for scoring the result in Paul's favour. Two of the judges scored it 76-73 to Fury, but American judge Mike Ross thought his countryman won 75-74.
The US Judge scoring that for Jake Paul have some shame 🤣
— Joshua Jones (@joshuapsjones) February 26, 2023
Judging in fight sports will forever be controversial. But, but... there is NOTHING... NOTHINGGG like judging in BOXING, LOL!!! There's almost always at least one judge with an ABSOLUTELY BONKERS card 🤣🤣💀 Bruh. Anyway, at least the win went to the right person... #PaulFury
— Pala (@Pala) February 26, 2023
Mike Ross must be legally BLIND to score that for Jake Paul? I mean genuinely unable to see.#PaulFury
— Ollie McManus (@OliverGMcManus) February 26, 2023
Is the ref trying to steal the spotlight from Jake Paul and Tommy Fury?
— Joey Oliver (@Joey_Oliver) February 26, 2023
Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury is supposed to be about Jake Paul and Tommy Fury, not the referee.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 26, 2023
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