Forget Jake Paul, Tommy Fury has proven less in boxing ahead of their Saudi Arabia showdown


Fury is 8-0 but has he fought anyone as good as Paul’s opponents? (Picture: Getty)

As insufferable as he may occasionally be, you will be hard-pushed to find many people in the sport who won’t begrudgingly admit Jake Paul has been good for boxing.

Anthony Joshua, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Eddie Hearn and Tyson Fury have admitted as much over the last two years. The Disney Channel star-turned-knockout artist still has major questions to answer over his ability to stand toe-to-toe with true professionals, with just one of his six opponents to date holding real boxing experience in the form of UFC legend Anderson Silva, who himself only has five fights under his belt. But it has been so far, so good.

Paul vs Tommy Fury has been billed by many as the YouTuber versus the Real Boxing Man and while the latter certainly comes from fighting stock, it does Paul a disservice and perhaps stretches the limits of what the younger Fury brother has accomplished so far.

Emerging talents fighting opponents with losing records is nothing new and is very much the nature of the beast in boxing. The best in the game were put through similar tests at the start of their careers. Even the great Floyd Mayweather Jr, in his ninth professional fight, took on an opponent who had won just one of his previous 15 bouts.

As columnist Frazer Clarke wrote this week, any young fighter with an elevated profile will now have their early outings scrutinised and dissected to a much larger degree, fighting on big cards in front of thousands of fans with countless more judging on social media.

After just 12 amateur fights, Fury made his professional debut in December 2018 against Jevgenijs Andrejevs who was at the time of a veteran of 115 fights, losing 102 of them. A second fight against Callum Ide, who at the time had lost 26 of his 28 professional bouts while drawing the other two, followed before Fury stopped off at Love Island.

After emerging with a new legion of fans, the trend of opponents with questionable records continued with Fury not fighting someone with a winning record until fight no6 where he beat Jordan Grant, who was fighting in what was just his third professional contest, on a points decision.

Jake Paul v Tyron Woodley

Paul left Woodley face down on the mat in their second fight (Picture: Getty)

For all the jibes about Paul not taking on ‘real boxers’, Fury’s next test in August 2021 was against Anthony Taylor, an MMA fighter-turned-boxer also firmly embedded in the world of influencers, beating the American in another comfortable points win.

Fury’s most recent professional fight, on the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte undercard at Wembley last April, was his first test against an opponent with a somewhat stellar record. Daniel Bocianski had lost just one of his previous 11 fights, all contested in his homeland of Poland before being knocked down and dominated by Fury in the capital.

It was a step up and a bigger challenge he dealt with but one that should have perhaps come sooner. Heading into his showdown with Paul, his record stands at a healthy 8-0, with four of those wins coming via knockout.

But the combined record of his opponents before they stepped in the ring with him makes for grim reading – 175 defeats, 24 wins and three draws. Three of those hadn’t – and still haven’t – won a professional boxing match.

Fury fought former MMA fighter Taylor last in 2021 (Picture: Getty)

From Paul’s six victories, the first two can be effectively stricken from the record. Knockout victories over fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA point guard Nate Robinson did nothing to dispel suggestions that this was not a serious venture into the fight game and hold less value than Fury’s wins over seasoned journeyman, regardless of their losing records.

Victory no3 over the retired Ben Askren, a former Bellator welterweight champion and accomplished wrestler but never a renowned striker, was a step up but hardly a major one.

A points win followed by a sixth round knockout of former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley followed as Paul’s reputation grew and it was victory over another former champion last October that served as his most significant moment.

At 47, Anderson Silva’s best days were certainly behind him, having left MMA with three defeats on the bounce to relaunch a boxing career having previously fought in 1998 and 2005.

Paul’s biggest test came against Silva (Picture: Getty)

But a victory over former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr the year before his meeting with Paul proved his threat in the boxing ring, even if up against an unfit and unmotivated opponent.

Paul’s improvement has been there to see and even if opponents have been carefully selected at the wrong stages of their career, they were gambles.

Fury is yet to take one himself and while his boxing pedigree will have been instilled from a young age from his fighting family, it is his rival who has taken the furthest steps thus far.

Away from the ring, the American’s promotional efforts behind last year’s historic showdown between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano in New York have seen his impact in the sport as a whole grow and like it or not, he is a presence that can’t be ignored.

Fury may be the more naturally skilled boxer having dedicated half his life to the trade, but there is plenty of work to do.

The next steps will decide which man is truly serious about their aspirations in the sport – a win for Paul will see him earn a ranking in the WBC cruiserweight rankings while Fury may seek to make inroads at domestic level in the light-heavyweight scene.

Both men still have everything to prove in boxing regardless of how Sunday night unfolds but it may show us who is ready to truly begin the journey.

MORE : ‘Boxing’s biggest b***h’ Tommy Fury vs ‘impostor’ Jake Paul: The history of their boxing rivalry and why the two hate each other

MORE : I think Jake Paul beats Tommy Fury, but Carl Froch will take pleasure in teaching him a lesson

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