Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury: How to watch and what you need to know
(CNN) In boxing, the love between the fighters is often not lost. Whether that manifests itself in a deliberation or a pre-vault of words, intense rivalries have been the order of the day over the years. The sport’s newest rivalry has a very modern twist.
In a corner we have a former internet star. A man who made a name for himself on YouTube and through his music before turning to boxing.
On the other hand, a reality TV star and one of the younger brothers of one of the most successful boxers of all time.
Sunday’s fight between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury is one of the most hotly anticipated in the sport’s modern history – not necessarily because of their relative qualities but because of the bad blood between the two.
After years of antagonistic exchanges, Paul and Fury will finally exchange punches in the ring in Saudi Arabia this weekend, perhaps changing the future of the sport itself.
Where and how to watch
The pair will slug it out on Sunday at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia as headlines for the evening’s fight card begin.
The card will start at 2:00 p.m. ET (10:00 p.m. local time), with the eight-round cruiserweight fight scheduled to begin at around 5:00 p.m. ET (1:00 a.m. local time).
Here you can see how Paul and Fury compete:
UK: BT Sport
“The surname Paul vs. the surname Fury”
The fight on Sunday has lasted for years.
The two were supposed to fight twice before. Fury withdrew from the first, citing a broken rib and a bacterial chest infection, and for the second Fury was denied a visa to face Paul in the US.
The two fighters had different journeys to get to this point.
Fury has boxing in his blood. As the brother of world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and the son of a former fighter, a career in the sport was always likely.
After a brief stint on British reality TV show Love Island, 23-year-old Fury has turned his full attention to boxing and started his burgeoning career with an unbeaten start of eight wins. although critics would say the opponents weren’t tough.
Paul only started boxing in 2018 but has since racked up six wins – including four knockouts – against a variety of sports names, including wins over MMA world champions Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva.
What started out as a seemingly money-driven decision – after seeing the huge purses boxers can earn even in exhibition bouts – has blossomed into a full-blown career change for Paul. However, Fury will be the first professional boxer he faces.
Should he do well or even beat Fury, the boxing community could take him more seriously.
“What that means for my career is that he’s a professional boxer and we’re in the sport of boxing,” Paul told BT Sport earlier this month.
“It took years and years to build. It’s almost like we got three press tours with this fight because we’ve been trying to make it happen for so long, so there’s so much media out there, a lot of people want to see it.
“It’s country versus country, it’s the surname Paul versus the surname Fury.”
It’s also a massive fight for Fury – who hasn’t fought since beating Daniel Bocianski in April – as he has had to live in his brother’s shadow for years and has also faced criticism for not having achieved more in the sport to date.
“This is a massive event, a lot of people think this is going to be a really tough, very close fight,” Fury told BT Sport.
“But at the end of the day it’s a big event because one man is a superstar on the internet and the other is a legitimate boxer and people want to see it [Paul] compete against one.
“That’s all it is in my mind. In my mind it’s fight number nine, another fellow to beat.”
change of perspective
Internet personalities who started boxing have come a long way in the last five years.
Since the first fights between YouTube stars KSI and Joe Weller in 2017, people from every walk of life — from TikTok to music — have slipped into the gloves and into the ring, with the sport’s show demographics growing rapidly.
As the sport’s newcomers improved and took the craft more seriously, some of boxing’s traditional supporters began to be won over.
Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton said that while the fight between Paul and Fury was scratchy at first, he understood the appeal of the event.
“At the very, very beginning I was like, ‘What is this?’ And as a boxer who has dedicated his life to the sport,” Frampton told the BBC, “if I’m honest I was a bit annoyed at first that these guys were getting so much attention.
“But I get it now and I can see why there is such an appeal.”
In an unprecedented event, the World Boxing Council – one of boxing’s four major organizations – announced that the winner of the fight will receive a top 40 cruiserweight ranking.
It’s a decision that has been criticized by members of the boxing fraternity, but gives the fight a legitimacy that many such fights have lacked before.
A special commemorative belt was created by the WBC. The Diriyah belt is awarded to the winner, with the WBC stating that the fight “continues to support the growth of our sport by attracting thousands of new viewers”.
The pre-fight press conference was full of barbs, with Fury predicting he would knock Paul out in four rounds and Paul saying he was there to “silence the critics”.
In fact, the whole fight received another benefit when Paul made a Double or Nothing bet with Fury in the press conference, saying he would give Fury all his earnings if he lost. But if Paul should win, he would take all the money.
Although Fury himself did not change the deal, Fury’s father and coach John seemed to be in agreement.
For both fighters, this fight could be a huge stepping stone to a successful boxing career – both in and out of the ring.