YouTube sensation Jake Paul is one of the biggest stars to ever enter the combat sports world in recent memory, but his online following appears unimpressive when compared to Brazil’s YouTuber-turned-boxer Whindersson Nunes.
And Nunes is down to trading hands with the heavier boxer in the future, too.
Paul has shown talent in the boxing ring in victories over Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley, and Ben Askren, amplified thanks to his 23.5 million followers on Instagram and 20.4 million subscribers on YouTube. Those figures combined, however, don’t come close to Nunes’.
A superstar in Brazil with nearly 60 million Instagram followers and over 44 million YouTube subscribers, Nunes entered the combat sports world long before it was a trend among influencers, training mixed martial arts with UFC veteran Lucas Martins to battle depression in the mid 2010s. With boxing, he later found the perfect outlet to heal his body and mind, and decided to take it to the next step.
Nunes won his amateur boxing debut in a small event in Sao Paulo in 2019 under an alias to avoid media fuss, but later made it bigger by meeting former world champion Acelino Freitas in a boxing exhibition in Curitiba. Nunes entered Kingpin’s High Stakes celebrity tournament and knocked out Filipek in his debut this past April. Now he faces King Kenny this Saturday in Dublin for a spot in the finals.
“Forget everything I’ve done before, I think I’m really fighting like a boxer in this tournament,” Nunes said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast, crediting Cuban coach Elieser Medina for his evolution since the Freitas exhibition. “I was more of a fighter before, an athlete, let’s fight and whatnot. But now I feel I’m doing real boxing. I feel the evolution on the past six months is crystal clear.”
Nunes said he’s a huge boxing fan and he watches “every boxing event there is,” from massive superstars to smaller shows with unknown boxers. The popular comedian, however, said he’d have to get paid good money to continue boxing in 2024 since it takes time to prepare for each contest. A match with Jake Paul would likely generate big numbers, though.
Paul weighed in at 183.6 pounds for his latest match with Tommy Fury, almost almost 20 pounds heavier than what Nunes stepped on the scale for his clash with Filipek in London. Nunes said he would he open to facing “big guy” Paul if they meet in the middle, and poked fun of Paul’s boxing wins over retired MMA veterans.
“It’s harder when you fight a professional boxer, right?” Nunes said. “Boxing retired guys is more of his thing, right? To fight people that stopped [competing]. I don’t know [how this match would go], I can’t imagine it. You’d have to pay to watch.”
Paul is scheduled to face former UFC contender Nate Diaz on Aug. 5 in Dallas, and Nunes favors the YouTuber to win.
“An MMA fighter against a boxer is very different because a boxer works hard on footwork and upper body,” Nunes said, “whereas MMA fighters trains jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, judo, taekwondo, karate, everything, and you lose resources when you only use your hands. Nate Diaz is tough and can take it, maybe they do an even match. I don’t know how to break it down, but I imagine it will be even given Nate’s cardio and Jake’s boxing. I’d imagine Jake has evolved since his last fight because he lost, and you’re always trying to fix your mistakes.”