A contest between two novices that have been thrust into possible world ranking contention takes place this Sunday at the Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia, as Jake Paul and Tommy Fury finally come face-to-face after what has seemed like an eternity in the making.
BT Sport Box Office televise Paul vs Fury in the UK, whilst the clash is on ESPN+ in the USA.
The bout is set for a scheduled eight rounds at cruiserweight.
Paul (6-0, 4 KOs) is a YouTuber-turned-boxer, and has so far compiled an unbeaten record thanks to wins over faded combat sport competitors and fellow internet personalities.
‘The Problem Child’ overcame former UFC champion Tyron Woodley, who was making his boxing debut, via split decision over eight in August 2021, and stopped his compatriot in six in a rematch less than four months later.
Last time out, the 26-year-old defeated another former UFC star from, as he dropped the 47-year-old Anderson Silva in the final round on the way to an eight round points win in October 2022.
Fury (8-0, 4 KOs) has similarly racked up wins mainly against limited opposition, and only fought once in 2022, winning all six rounds against Daniel Bocianski and scoring a knockdown at Wembley Stadium last April on his brother Tyson’s undercard.
Visa issues for Fury, as well as injury, have pushed this fight further and further back, but the pair get it on in the Middle East, where all manor of permutations could take place.
Prediction: This one is a tough one to call, largely owing to the inexperience of both. I lean towards Fury taking the win, likely by razor-thin decision so that a money-making rematch can be made.
Makabu defends WBC title against Jack
The real action heads the undercard, where there is a world title attraction on offer. WBC cruiserweight champion, Ilunga Makabu defends his belt for a third time against two-weight world champion Badou Jack.
Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs) failed in his first attempt at the WBC title, when he was spectacularly knocked out in the third against Tony Bellew in 2016, and had to rebuild, winning seven times before receiving a second shot at the vacant strap in January 2020, and this time, in his homeland of Congo, he outscored Michal Cieslak to become world champion.
The 35-year-old defended with a stoppage win against Olanrewaju Durodola at the back end of 2020, and he was last out in January last year, taking a split decision win against Thabiso Mchunu.
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Jack (27-3-3, 16 KOs) is most definitely far removed from his best days, when he reigned as WBC super middleweight champion before taking the WBA title at light heavyweight.
A pair of losses to Marcus Browne and Jean Pascal in 2019 looked to have signalled the end for the Swede, but he has since resurfaced in several low-key encounters at cruiserweight, winning five on the spin.
The 39-year-old’s last outing was in August 2022, as he shaded a ten round split decision against the unbeaten Richard Rivera.
Prediction: Makabu hasn’t looked great in recent times, but Jack has looked a faded force too. I think Makabu can retain purely as the bigger man, and it’ll likely be on the cards.
Bader Samreen (7-0, 6 KOs) has an eight round assignment at lightweight against the faded Viorel Simion (23-9, 9 KOs), and the Jordanian should win inside schedule.
The final eight rounder is at cruiserweight, where Muhsin Cason (10-0, 7 KOs) can halt Taryel Jafarov (18-5, 17 KOs), with the Azerbaijan native having been stopped in all five of his defeats.
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Stuart Kellogg debuts, and the super lightweight should take a points win against Adam Saleh (0-0-1) over six.
The sole four rounder is also at super lightweight, where Ziyad Almaayouf (1-0, 1 KO) can outscore Ronnald Martinez (3-1-1).