The highest-grossing eight-round fight in history delivered what it had promised on paper. Boxer from boxing family, beats inexperienced showman, with plenty of drama, and a split decision – 76-73 twice for Tommy Fury, and one judge scoring it 75-74 to Jake Paul.
But there was drama at the last, with Fury off balance and down in the eighth, both men giving everything in the final minutes.
They called it “The Truth” and Fury – half-brother of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury – had to prove it against YouTuber turned boxer Paul in a multi-million pound battle. In a fight of two novices, replete with national anthems and the whole fanfare – a fight for the new age, if you like – there was even a belt on the line from the World Boxing Council sanctioning body, and ludicrously, a potential world ranking at stake.
“Rob the bank, catch a body and go home…” said Paul minutes before his walk to the ring. “We’ve got another fish on the line, and I’m knocking him out.”
But Paul, 26 years old, now 6-1 in his three-year career, was facing a boxer for the first time.
Fury, now 9-0, simply had to win. After a huge build-up, two cancellations and 30 months of goading, Fury won the opening round, finding his range, with the referee warning him against holding. But the Briton set the pattern and used his boxing skills.
Fury used his far more complete boxing skills to overcome Paul CREDIT: Getty Images/Francois Nel
The American was game. Acting on his father’s advice, Fury landed combinations in the fourth, but Paul showed a good chin. The social media star was deducted a point in the fifth for punching to the back of the head. It left Paul trying to land with big, bowling shots, but they tied up again and again.
In round six, Fury was deducted a point for pushing his foe’s head down and holding, but he had clear control of the fight as both men fatigued. “I had a lot of pressure on me, it was my destination, my fate,” said an emotional Fury. “I’d do it again, I had nerves, if he wants a rematch, we can do it again.”
In some ways, Paul became legit. It was always a win-win for the extraordinary marketeer who has chosen boxing as his stage for his millions of YouTube subscribers. Fury, 23, found fame with a stint on Love Island and for Paul, there is the desire for a re-run.
“Don’t judge me on my losses. I think we should do the rematch,” said the American.
Whether the public will buy it again, remains to be seen.
This article first appeared in Telegraph Sport.