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Tommy Fury beats Jake Paul by split decision in back-and-forth battle over 8 rounds

Jake Paul tasted defeat for the first time in his boxing career after Tommy Fury earned a split decision in a back-and-forth battle over eight rounds in Saudi Arabia.

The highly publicized bout saw both fighters have their moments but it was Fury’s dedication to boxing fundamentals as he stuck behind a lead jab and continuously outlanded Paul that led to his victory. Fury did have to survive a brief knockdown in the final round but he quickly got back to his feet and continued to slug it out until the final bell sounded.

When it was over, two judges gave Fury the fight with the same 76-73 score while the third official had it 75-74 for Paul. That was still enough for Fury to get the win as he moves to 9-0 in his career while Paul drops to 6-1 overall.

“For the past two and a half years, this is all that’s consumed my life,” Fury said afterwards. “Broke rib, denied access [to the United States]. Everybody thought I was running scared. Tonight, I made my own legacy. I am Tommy Fury. I want to dedicate this fight to my new baby girl Bambi at home, my misses, I love you, I can’t wait to see you. This fight was for you.

“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. Now I can stand up and everybody can take note. I had pressure on my shoulders and I came through. This to me is a world title fight. I trained so hard for this. This was my destiny, this was my fate.”

This was by far Fury’s most complete performance while facing a bigger threat in Paul than virtually every other opponent he’s beaten thus far in his career.

As the fight got started, it was Paul who was commanded by his coaches to stay aggressive and not take a backwards step, which he followed by taking the center of the ring with Fury circling on the outside. Fury was looking to snap off fast combinations while Paul was pawing with his left hand and then following with the powerful right hook behind it.

A left jab was Fury’s best punch early and that allowed him to start setting up his power shots but Paul was defending well as he continued to try and walk down his opponent. When Fury did move forward, Paul was trying to time his counters and loading up on his punches.

Fury started to ratchet up his output as the fourth round got underway as he really started to put together combinations. It was clear that Paul was struggling to cut off the ring, which led to him chasing Fury although he still clipped the former reality TV star with a hard left hook during one exchange.

Midway through the fifth round, Paul lost a point on the scorecards due to punches to the back of the head but as soon as the action restarted, he blasted Fury with a huge overhand left that was likely his best punch up to that point in the fight.

Throughout the fight, Paul was ducking his head when throwing his left jab and Fury finally started to make him pay with a well-timed uppercut in return.

Just when it looked like Fury was starting to gain momentum, the referee paused the action and deducted a point from the British boxer. It was the same foul called for Paul with punches to the back of the head, although none of the shots from either fighter seemed egregious enough to warrant a point deduction.

As time started to tick away towards the final bell, Fury was still the busier fighter and it appeared that Paul was losing energy. Just when it looked like the fight might be slipping away, Paul unleashed a straight punch that sent Fury to the canvas momentarily.

Fury was quick to get back to his feet but in a close fight those moments are crucial. Once the fight restarted, Fury continued launching punches in a final flurry as the contest came to an end and the judges obviously gave him the nod by split decision.

A disappointed Paul revealed afterwards that he dealt with some sickness and an injury during his training camp but he still paid homage to Fury on a job well done.

“Honestly, I felt flat,” Paul said. “I got sick twice really bad in this camp, injured my arm. It wasn’t my best performance but I lost. Not making any excuses. I’m just saying it wasn’t my best performance. I felt a little flat. Like I said, we’re going to come back and get that ‘W’. I’m going to come back stronger.

“All respect to Tommy. He won. Don’t judge me by my wins, judge me by my losses. I’ll come back. I think we deserve that rematch. It was a great fight, a close fight, I don’t know if I agree with the judges. I got a 10-8 round twice so it is what it is. This is boxing.”

Paul had an automatic rematch clause inserted into his contract so he can already demand a second shot at Fury and by all accounts it appears that’s what will happen.

“This is definitely a humbling experience,” Paul said. “I’ll take it on the chin, get back in the gym, and we can run it back because I think we put on an amazing show for the fans tonight.”

For his part, Fury sounded more than ready for another fight with Paul, especially given the attention the initial matchup received.

“This is my first main event, I’m only going to go stronger. I’m only going to go bigger,” Fury said. “If he wants a rematch, bring it on.”

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