A quick search of Jake Paul's Wikipedia page shows the results of an American professional boxer, but that's far from the full story of the hugely-popular social media influencer...
Like it or not, Jake Paul is one of the most popular boxers active today.
Naoya Inoue and Terence Crawford recently produced masterful performances to enhance their respective claims to be the best fighter on the planet, but the fact of the matter is that ‘The Problem Child’ is more well known than both of them.
Oh, and it appears that Paul (6-1, 4 KOs) has no intention of leaving the sport anytime soon.
Five years ago, such statements would have seemed unfathomable, but dedication, combined with some shrewd self-promotion, has led Paul to become one of the pioneers of crossover boxing, and a legitimate pay-per-view star in the process.
The 26-year-old first laced up the gloves for an amateur bout on the undercard of his sibling Logan’s clash with fellow YouTuber KSI. Jake Paul halted KSI’s brother Deji in the fifth round as part of that card in 2018.
The event was a resounding success, with over 1.3 million buys on the YouTube pay-per-view platform. With that, the sport of influencer boxing was born.
Paul initially rose to prominence on Vine, before transitioning onto YouTube. His popularity secured him a role on the Disney show Bizaardvark.
His time on television was short-lived, but his pranks, parties and hip-hop videos garnered a large following. This ready-made fan base and the commercial success of the aforementioned fight card meant Paul was a valuable commodity to boxing promoters.
Paul had his first professional bout against British YouTube star AnEsonGib as the chief support to the WBO middleweight world title bout between Demetrius Andrade and Luke Keeler. Few debutants are given such prominent billing, but ‘The Problem Child’ was no normal prospect.
After stopping AnEsonGib in the opening round, Paul returned on another high-profile bill, this time on the undercard of the exhibition between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.
Paul scored a spectacular second-round knockout against, former NBA basketball player, Nate Robinson. The clip of the went viral, increasing Paul’s notoriety.
To demonstrate that he was a cut above the other influencers-turned-fighters, Paul challenged Ben Askren in his next bout. Askren was a combat sports veteran having been a Bellator MMA champion, as well as competing in the UFC.
Some observers felt that Askren posed a real threat, but Paul made such beliefs appear foolish with another stoppage, this time within the opening three minutes.
A backstage confrontation between Paul and former UFC champion Tyron Woodley sowed the seeds for the Cleveland native’s next fight. Afterwards, Woodley officially called out Paul.
Four months later, the bout came to fruition. A unique stipulation gained traction in the mainstream media: the loser would have to have the victor’s name tattooed on their body.
Woodley provided a much sterner test that Paul’s previous opponents. The MMA fighter gave as good has he got and became the first man to go the scheduled distance against Paul. One judge favoured the work of Woodley, but was overruled by the other two, who gave the fight to the YouTube personality.
As a result, Woodley inked his middle finger with: “I love Jake Paul.”
In 2021, Paul formed Most Valuable Promotions and signed seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano.
‘The Problem Child’ used his platform to raise the profile and purses of the Puerto Rican sensation. Paul co-promoted the super-fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, which was the first women’s fight to sell-out Madison Square Garden.
Despite success as a promoter, Paul’s in-ring exploits were far from over. After a proposed bout with Tommy Fury fell through, the YouTuber rematched Woodley. Their first fight had been competitive, the second less so, as Paul scored a highlight-reel knockout in the sixth round.
In 2022, Paul faced another step-up in class as he took on Anderson Silva. The Brazilian is considered to be one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time and had some pedigree as a boxer, having defeated former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. the previous year.
Once again, Paul was victorious, prevailing by unanimous decision.
In February 2023, Paul finally faced Tommy Fury, in Saudi Arabia. The pair had been scheduled to meet on two previous occasions, and both times, Fury withdrew from the bout.
Fury became somewhat of a celebrity after winning Love Island in 2019. Although Fury was a professional boxer and brother of WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson, the fight was seen as a pick ‘em.
Fury was 8-0 as a professional, but had fought modest foes. Arguably, Paul had boxed better opposition, with Anderson Silva being superior to any opponent of ‘TNT.’
There was an interesting dichotomy between the two men: Paul was a YouTuber who had dedicated several years to boxing, while Fury was a boxer who had spent 36 months as an influencer.
On the night, Fury’s superior skills were too much for Paul, although ‘The Problem Child’ scored a knockdown in the eighth round. It was not enough for the American, however, with Fury declared the winner by split decision.
It would have been easy for Paul to walk away from the sport following his first loss, however he has persevered and will attempt to get back to winning ways against Nate Diaz.
Love him, or loathe him, Jake Paul isn’t going anywhere.