Paul vs Fury: Fury beats Paul by split decision in tense fight

Jake Paul faced Tommy Fury in a highly-anticipated fight in Saudi Arabia, exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office HD. Discover the result and reaction in our post-fight report here.

By Callum Rice-Coates Published: 26 February 2023 - 11.54pm
Jake Paul and Tommy Fury in action

Tommy Fury beat Jake Paul by split decision in a long-awaited exhibition match in Saudi Arabia on Sunday night.

The clash had been the subject of weeks of high-profile buildup and lived up to the hype in a nervy eight rounds between two up-and-coming fighters.

Fury had the upper hand for large periods and ultimately came out on top, despite a stumble late on and a couple of near misses for Paul.

Paul vs Fury - Full fight report

After all the talk, all the animosity, Tommy Fury’s entrance was relatively low-key. Dressed in a white and gold gown with ‘Bambi’, the name of his daughter, emblazoned on the front, he appeared focused and composed as he stepped into the ring.

There was a delay before Jake Paul’s entrance as the Youtuber-turned-boxer perhaps deliberately made his opponent wait. The Problem Child emerged, though, to a chorus of jeers, clearly the antagonist for the Saudi spectators.

The tension was palpable and the start of the fight was notably scrappy, with both men grappling and repeatedly broken apart by the referee.

It wasn’t until the final seconds of the first round that a real punch was landed as Fury caught Paul with a well-executed left jab and forced the American onto the back foot.

The latter was more proactive in the second round, taking the front foot but leaving himself open to Fury’s effective jabs.

It was the Englishman who looked more measured in the early stages, but Paul’s aggression began to force his opponent back and a couple of successful punches in round three appeared to boost his confidence.

There was a brief interval to allow an interview with Logan Paul, who called the entire Fury family “b*****s” and undoubtedly riled up the man in the ring.

Fury hit back, landing a flurry of punches in the fourth round, before Paul connected with a powerful left hook, but it was the Mancunian in the ascendancy at the halfway stage.

In round five, a point was deducted from Paul for a punch to the back of the head and there was a sense of urgency heading into the sixth with the social media star clearly lagging behind.

It seemed Paul might need a knockout but there was no sign of one coming as Fury kept his opposite number at arm’s length. A point deduction for Fury for holding, though, gave Paul a lifeline.

The penultimate round was a scrappy one as both men tired and neither managed to find any momentum. But Fury was marginally on top, despite a cut above his left eye which required some stitches.

Paul was in need of an inspired final round and produced one of the moments of the fight as he caught Fury and sent him stumbling to the canvas.

Tommy Fury

But the fight always seemed likely to go the distance, and after some wild swings and desperate lunges from both fighters the final bell rang.

There was a delay while the judges came to a decision before the announcement was made: Fury, by split decision, was the winner.

His unbeaten record remained intact and Paul tasted defeat for the first time.

The reaction

Tommy Fury

“For the past two and a half years, this is all that’s consumed my life. Tonight I made my own legacy - I am Tommy Fury.

“Molly, this fight was for you, and for you, Bambi, I love you.

“I had a dream and a vision that I would win this fight and no one believed me. I had pressure on my shoulders and I came through.

“This to me is a world title fight - I’ve trained so hard for this. This was my destiny, we did it!

“This was my first main event. I’m only going to go stronger and bigger. If Jake wants a rematch then bring it on.

“Tears of joy for me. Jake Paul was a proper warrior. He took some good shots and he’s far better than I thought he was.”

Jake Paul

“All respect to Tommy - he won. I deserve a rematch, I don’t know if I agree with the judges.

“I’ve already won in life - I have an amazing family, amazing friends and I’ve made it farther than I ever thought I would.

“This was a humbling experience, I’ll get back in the gym and we can run it back. We put on an amazing show for the fans tonight.

“I felt flat, I got sick twice in this camp and injured my arm. It wasn’t my best performance, but I’m not making excuses and I’ll come back stronger.”

Paul vs Fury - Undercard results

The first fight of the main card was brief as Bader Samreen continued his fine run of victories with a TKO win over Viorel Simion, taking just one minute and 26 seconds to land the decisive blow.

That was followed by Muhsin Cason vs Taryel Jafarov, a fight that began almost perfectly for the former, who landed a powerful punch within seconds that put Jafarov on his knees.

The Azerbaijani recovered, but only enough to make it to the end of round one, at which point the contest was stopped and Cason - now 11-0 - declared the winner.

Next up was Saudi Arabian Ziyad Almaayouf, who was cheered on by his home crowd and got the better of Colombian Ronnald Martinez in a hard-fought four rounds.

Both fighters landed some impressive blows, and Martinez dropped Almaayouf in the first round, but it was the latter who edged things when it came to the judges’ decisions.

Then it was time for the co-main event, which promised to be a tense, nervy affair and lived up to that expectation.

With the WBC cruiserweight title on the line, Badou Jack proved a worthy competitor for Ilunga Makabu, knocking the champion to the canvas in round four and defending strongly throughout.

Makabu slowly grew into the fight, but it was Jack who finished with all the momentum, again sending his opponent to the floor in the penultimate round.

And with Makabu reeling, Jack sealed the win and became the new WBC cruiserweight champion with a flurry of punches before the referee called time on a memorable fight.