Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury: The Problem Child targets validation with victory against boxing’s most famous fighting family

Jake Paul takes on Tommy Fury exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office this Sunday night looking to silence critics of his boxing credentials once and for all.

By George Mills Published: 22 February 2023 - 1.20pm

If Jake Paul’s dalliance with the sport of boxing was once considered a joke, the laughter stopped a long time ago.

The 26-year-old YouTube star, who first rose to notoriety as a child actor on the Disney Channel, has become one of the most prominent figures in the fight game in just three short years, dominating the discourse of the combat sports world.

Paul vs Fury

One of boxing's most intriguing rivalries will be settled in Saudi Arabia this Sunday night. Book your seat now for Paul vs Fury, exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office HD from 6.30pm.

Paul’s ascent to fighting superstardom has been fuelled by both intrigue and incredulity; viewers have tuned in by the millions to find out whether the cocky novice could really handle the heat of battle under the bright lights against some of the biggest names in combat sports.

And miraculously, so far, the answer has been a resounding ‘yes’.

Victories against former MMA world champions Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva – albeit under boxing rules - have begun to turn haters to believers, winning respect in the eyes of many on his mission to be considered a ‘real’ fighter.

But for all his successes so far during an inarguably impressive 6-0 (4 KOs) start to life inside the squared circle, Paul’s remaining detractors have been left one last stick with which to beat the kid from Ohio.

“He’s never fought a real boxer”

That refrain has dogged Paul over the past few years, seemingly the last barrier to his reluctant acceptance by the boxing masses as a real combatant rather than the showman of an unpalatable circus act.

That all changes this weekend as Paul finally lays his hands on long-time rival Tommy Fury, with whom Paul has stoked a rivalry that began almost as soon as he laced his gloves for the first time.

It began when Paul mocked WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on social media after he inadvertently shared fake viewing figures of brother Tommy’s 2021 showdown against Scott Williams.

“It’s the Paul family name versus the Fury family name”
- Jake Paul

That led to Tyson suggesting Paul fight Tommy, igniting the touch paper on a war of words that has ceased to relent over the past two years with online threats, video exchanges and a face-to-face backstage confrontation helping stoke the fires of a modern boxing rivalry.

“I would say this is the biggest [fight of my career],” Paul told BT Sport’s Josh Denzel during an exclusive chat earlier this month.

“In terms of what it means for my career, he’s a professional boxer and we’re in the sport of boxing. The build-up has been years and years in the making. It’s almost like we’ve gotten 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, so many people want to see it.

“It’s country versus country, it’s the Paul family name versus the Fury family name.”

Given what is at stake and the weight of his lineage heading into this contest, you might assume that Fury is feeling the pressure ahead of the big night in the Saudi city of Diriyah.

But the 23-year-old, who as a former reality TV star himself and partner to one of the UK’s most successful influencers, Molly-Mae Hague, is no stranger to the glare of public scrutiny.

Speaking to BT Sport this month, Fury appeared unfazed by the furore surrounding Sunday’s event, labelling Paul another “journeyman” waiting to be knocked out.

“Because this is a massive event, a lot of people think this is going to be a really hard, really close fight,” Fury said.

“But at the end of the day it’s a big event because one man is a superstar on the internet and the other man is a legitimate boxer and people want to see him [Paul] go up against one.

“That’s all it is in my eyes. In my eyes it’s fight number nine, another journeyman to knock out.”

Will Fury prove he’s levels above Paul – or is the boxing world set to welcome ‘The Problem Child’ to its pugilistic fraternity?

Don't miss Paul vs Fury exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office this Sunday night from 6.30pm. Click here to find out how to order this unmissable event.