CLEVELAND — Those hoping for Jake Paul’s boxing demise by the hands of an enormous puncher shall be sorely disillusioned.
The YouTube sensation-turned-prizefighter outpointed Tyron Woodley via split decision (77-75, 75-77, 78-74) in the principle occasion of a boxing card Sunday night time at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Woodley is a former UFC welterweight champion with a number of highlight-reel knockouts on his MMA résumé. Woodley wobbled Paul with an enormous proper hand in the fourth spherical, however Paul was in a position to survive that spherical and beat Woodley over the remainder of the bout.
“I learned a lot tonight,” Paul mentioned in his postfight information convention. “First time going back past four minutes. First time in an eight-round fight. … To be honest, I won convincingly. We’re gonna go back to the drawing board. I think I proved a lot tonight and proved a lot of people wrong.”
After the fight, Paul and Woodley agreed to a rematch if Woodley will get an “I love Jake Paul” tattoo.
“I didn’t hit the ground like his other opponents,” Woodley mentioned. “I walked him down and gave it back. Let’s run it back.”
In his information convention, Woodley felt assured he’d get the rematch if he received the tattoo. However, Paul mentioned he would simply contemplate a rematch with Woodley.
Paul has been a polarizing determine, leveraging his thousands and thousands of social-media followers into what he’s hoping shall be a authentic boxing profession. Woodley got here in because the extra skilled fight sports activities athlete, with 27 skilled MMA fights over a 12-year profession. He was additionally a two-time Division I wrestling All-American on the University of Missouri.
However, this was Woodley’s professional boxing debut. The bout was contested at a catchweight of 190 kilos, the heaviest Woodley has competed at in his fight sports activities profession. Paul (4-0) was going through the hardest take a look at of his burgeoning boxing profession Sunday. In his earlier bout, the Cleveland-area native knocked out former UFC fighter, MMA champion and Olympic wrestler Ben Askren in the primary spherical.
“I didn’t fight my best tonight,” Paul mentioned. “I give myself a C-minus. It’s my first time fighting in front of a crowd since my first amateur fight.”
Paul outlanded Woodley 71-52 in whole punches, per CompuBox. But Woodley really landed extra energy punches, 41-35. Paul landed extra jabs at 36-11.
“I thought I won, to be honest,” Woodley mentioned. “I was surprised it was a split decision. I thought it was close. … My demeanor and my emotion is because I wanted to knock him out. I had a couple big shots I landed, a couple opportunities and I think I had him hurt and I had him tired a couple times and I didn’t press him. I should have pressed him a little more.”
The early rounds had been very shut with little motion. Paul had his first strong spherical in the third, touchdown a pleasant uppercut-left-hand mixture. Woodley’s greatest second got here in the fourth, when he landed an enormous proper hand that rocked Paul towards the ropes. But Woodley did not capitalize. He had a strong starting to the fifth, however Paul stole it late with a left hand on the bell. Paul had an honest sixth and seventh, although each males had been tiring, and Woodley had one in all his greatest rounds in the eighth.
“That was the first time I took a real shot with 10-ounce gloves in four fights,” Paul mentioned. “I ate it; it was a good shot. This is boxing. If you’re a mechanic, you’re gonna get dirty. But I proved I have a chin.”
Judge Jaime Garayua gave Paul the primary, second, third, sixth and seventh rounds. Judge Dana DePaolo had Paul successful the primary two rounds and the ultimate 4 rounds. The lone dissenter, choose Phil Rogers, had Woodley successful the ultimate 5 rounds.
Paul, 24, grew to become one of many catalysts of this new, novelty style of boxing along with his second-round knockout of former NBA slam dunk champion Nate Robinson, in November 2020, on the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition undercard. Paul has mentioned he vows to be the most important identify in boxing, and he has turned fight sports activities on its head, headlining big-money occasions with a fraction of the expertise of his boxing friends.
He has a big following with the youthful demographic, who’ve adopted him since he was 17 years previous on Vine, then YouTube and now TikTookay and Instagram. He additionally starred on the Disney Channel present “Bizaardvark.”
Woodley, 39, misplaced his final 4 fights in the UFC and completed up his contract in March with a first-round submission loss to Vicente Luque at UFC 260. He is likely one of the greatest welterweight fighters in MMA historical past, accumulating 4 title defenses as 170-pound UFC champ and holding the belt from 2016 to 2019. Kamaru Usman defeated Woodley to win the UFC belt in March 2019.
“He’s a tough opponent,” Paul mentioned. “He’s been boxing, striking — whatever you want to call it — for years. I’ve been doing this three years.
“It was a harder fight than I anticipated.”
Woodley, from Ferguson, Missouri, was in Askren’s corner against Paul. A verbal confrontation between Woodley and Paul’s team on the evening of that fight in the room where Paul was getting his hands wrapped helped set up this matchup.
More shenanigans followed this week. At the prefight news conference on Thursday, things turned ugly when Woodley accused a member of Paul’s team of talking trash to Woodley’s mother. Woodley tried to get to his mother through a crowded hotel ballroom and traded heated, expletive-laced words with Paul team members as he was held back — as Paul egged the whole thing on.
Things cooled off only once Woodley, his family and team were escorted from the room.
Things boiled over again Saturday at the public weigh-ins at KeyBank State Theatre. Paul was being interviewed following the final stare-down while eating chicken fingers on stage. Woodley then walked over and reached out to give him packets of wet wipes, and Paul slapped them out of Woodley’s hands. He then shoved Woodley away and tried to reach for Woodley’s hat in an effort to duplicate his May “gotcha hat” stunt with Floyd Mayweather.
Woodley moved away and there was pushing and shoving with individuals on stage earlier than issues calmed down.