Fury won the fight with a dozen well-placed jabs and Paul’s innocence was his downfall. Thankfully, there was a lot more to the fight than one man swinging and one man picking the other off with a few jabs in each round.

It started under the dark desert sky with a level of anticipation and the promise of immense riches that divided the boxing world. However, inside about twenty seconds it was clear that all the bold talk, the claims, the threats from each boxer about delivering bone-crunching knockouts, were never going to happen. Guess what? It was hype.

Paul looked confused at times when Fury moved his feet and Fury held tightly when Paul got close; they were doing exactly what two novices, matched against each other, would have been doing had they been fighting at York Hall in eight anonymous rounds. The problem for the critics was that the pair were splitting as much as 20-million-dollars and topping the bill. The hype both damaged and created the fight.

Jake Paul and Tommy Fury exchange shots in Saudi Arabia

“Tommy boxed his ears off,’” insisted Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion of the world and Tommy’s big brother. “I’m proud of him, he was under so much pressure.”

In round five, Paul was deducted a point for hitting Fury in the back of his head. It was a shot shaped from frustration and not malicious intent. In round six, Fury was deducted a point for holding Paul down during the many clinches. Both deductions interrupted the flow of the fight and were unnecessary.

In round eight, Fury was dropped when Paul stepped forward and connected with a jab; Fury was not hurt, just annoyed as he regained his feet. It was a legitimate knockdown, an extra point to Paul, but the fight had slipped out of his grasp at that point. They were both very tired in the last round and that is to be expected.

Two of the judges sided with Fury, making him a three-point winner; the third judge narrowly scored the fight by just one point to Paul. It was close, hard at times to score, but over the eight-round distance and under intense scrutiny, Fury had done enough to deserve victory. The sport never suffered the predicted apocalypse at the attention the pair received and perhaps that is because they were revealed, in the end, as brave but raw novices. There was no shame in the Diriyah ring, just honest confirmation of their abilities. They each have a long, long way to go and a rematch was mentioned and would make sense.

There was a lot of hype, a lot promises and the critics went off deep into the Saudi night laughing at the fight and particularly at Paul’s loss.

Fury remained unbeaten with the points win, as Paul suffered a first loss


That is harsh; Paul fought his heart out, but just lacks so many of boxing’s rudimentary skills. Fury, meanwhile, just knew enough to play the real boxer in the ring and that is why he won. The truth is that they were perfectly matched and that makes the second fight intriguing; can Paul learn from his mistakes and can Fury improve?

“Judge me on my losses and not my wins,” said Paul in the ring at the end. “Let’s do it again, Tommy.” Paul was bruised, beaten and selling the rematch. It will happen, they each have nowhere to go.

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