Jake Paul moved to 4-0 (3 KOs) last night with a split decision victory over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley. The victory keeps Paul on-course for a clash with Britain’s Tommy Fury, who won a decision of his own on the undercard.
The YouTube star was forced to labour for a win for the first time in his career, and while the close decision looked just about fair, he was pushed further than we have seen before. Paul looked by far the bigger man, with the fight made 20 pounds above the 170Ib UFC welterweight limit where Woodley competed for the majority of his combat career. Jake made his size advantage count in the early going, boxing well at range against an opponent who seemed determined to load up for one big knockout shot.
The tide began to turn from the midway point, as a huge overhand right sent Paul barreling into the ropes in the fourth round. The influencer looked genuinely hurt, but Woodley was too tentative to capitalise. The MMA star was landing the more accurate shots, but failed to let his hands go often enough to rack up enough points on the scorecards. Paul eased back in with some good rights, and did just enough to clinch the nod from the judges.
Fury did his bit to set-up the next social media superfight, as the half-brother of WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson decisioned Paul’s sparring partner, Anthony Taylor. On paper this was a considerable mismatch, with Taylor carrying an 0-1 record into the ring while Fury could boast a 6-0 ledger. Taylor is also used to competing as a lightweight in MMA, 20 pounds below the light heavyweight boxing class he found himself in here.
However, the California man proved durable enough to take Fury the four-round distance, and the Love Island star failed to impress in a fight that was roundly booed by the Cleveland crowd. In his post-fight interview, Fury pointed out that his poor display here should make Paul more amenable to fighting him. While it remains to be seen whether Jake will opt for Tommy over a Woodley rematch, which he teased during the post-match festivities, Love Island vs YouTube would be an appropriate next chapter for the celebrity boxing circus.
All four of Paul’s opponents so far have been making their boxing debut, so if there is a modicum of intrigue in a Fury clash, it comes from the fact he’ll be facing an actual boxer for the first time. It is too early in Tommy’s career to tell if he’s a particularly good one, but Paul facing a 7-0 fighter is a nice change from racking up wins against 0-0 ones.
In action that was more relevant to the sport of boxing, the unimpeachable skills of Amanda Serrano were on display as she retained her WBC, WBO and IBO Featherweight belts against Yamileth Mercado in a dominant decision win. The victory keeps her on course for a potential pound-for-pound clash with Britain’s undisputed world lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
‘Dynamite’ Daniel Dubois continued on the comeback trail, racking up his second consecutive win since being stopped by Joe Joyce last November. The Greenwich knockout artist will face sterner tests than Joe Cusumano, who gamely swung at Dubois but did little else before being blasted away inside a round. Despite the tame competition, this fight will have done wonders for Dubois’ reputation with American audiences, and he is sure to have won plenty of fans with his explosive style.