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After much anticipation among crossover boxing fans, Jake Paul, Youtuber and social media star, will go head-to-head against Love Island pretty boy Tommy Fury on 26 February in Saudi Arabia. The biggest night in this new landscape may also be the defining moment for boxing’s most disliked newcomer.

Though Tommy Fury has captivated the hearts of television viewers across the UK, the same can’t be said for boxing fans. For the 24-year-old Mancunian, the ambition of living up to the Fury name is sisyphean. Every win seems only to reaffirm doubts in the young prospect’s abilities at fighting higher level fighters. If there is any chance of proving boxing fans wrong, it’s by facing his American rival, Jake Paul, who offers both the salvation and destruction of Fury’s path to becoming a potential world champion.

Paul, a 26-year-old social media star, emerged onto the scene in 2018 in the lucrative KSI v Logan Paul fight. Since then, Paul has gathered a worldwide, dedicated fanbase including both young lads and begrudging boxing commentators. With a 6-0 record, the American has defeated all his previous opponents, including Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva, previous UFC welterweight and middleweight champions respectively. This has gained him a dedicated and loyal fanbase that believe he could conquer the world and its boxing champions.

Fury, though exceeding Paul with a record of 8-0, owes much of his success to the Fury team’s cherrypicking of uninspired and unimpressive opponents. The bottom of the barrel was truly scraped when Jevgenijs Andrejevs, who had lost a total of 102 times, was selected as his opponent. Granted, the “Ken Doll” Fury stood well against 10-1 Daniel Bocianski at Wembley in 2022, making a Fury win over Paul not a total impossibility.

What does this all mean for the fighters going head to head on 26 February? What should we expect to see?

As satisfying as a Paul loss would be, the winds seem to be blowing towards the end of Fury’s career. After two postponements, doubt in Fury’s ability has grown across the community, affecting Fury’s half-brother – WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. “I think he’s a decent boxer. A lot of people think he’s just a YouTube person who doesn’t know how to box, but I’ve actually seen him training, and I’ve actually seen his fights, and I think he’s decent,” Fury told Sky Sports News. The postponements have seemed inauthentic with unanswered questions persisting. Though resulting from alleged rib injuries and American visa issues, the narrative of Tommy Fury “not having the bottle” perseveres as we approach fight week. These ideas combined with a series of social media back-and-forths have disarmed the Mancunian. Could Paul’s mind tricks win the fight before anyone even enters the ring?


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In their latest face to face, Paul’s superiority over the Brit was plain to see. Paul continued to nod, prod, and poke the frustrated Fury. Fury leapt and shoved security members in a rage to get to the laughing and taunting Paul. After the fact, Paul continued to outtalk Fury, telling him he’d crack under pressure and that his family would disown him. Fury’s response? A bumbling outburst referencing Paul’s Youtube exploits was the best he could do.

The threat of being “disowned” is really what’s at stake in the bout. With nothing to lose, Paul has the mental advantage over his British opponent. To make these fears more concrete, Tommy has heard, time and again from his father and his brother that, if he loses this fight, he should stay in the Middle East indefinitely.

How much change would a Paul win bring? For fight promoters, this would be either an exceptional new opportunity,or a serious blow to the integrity of the sport. Time will tell whether a Jake Paul win is for the better or the worse of boxing. Crossover boxing may become the norm. It was weird to see Billy Joe Saunders fight for the super-middleweight title on the undercard of KSI v Logan Paul II, or Floyd Mayweather Jr fight Logan Paul in June 2021. However, it is likely more of these fights are on the way. Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and KSI’s Misfits seem to indicate that boxing is desperate for a younger appearance, so that it can survive in barren spells while fans wait for heavyweight championship title fights.

If Jake Paul wins, whether we like it or not, he will become one of boxing’s newest stars. If he does win on 26 February, he may escape the tarnish of “YouTuber”. But if Fury can overcome his “Problem Child” label the path to boxing fame, as well as Fury heritage, will be within grasp.