RIYADH: The increasing buzz ahead of Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury scaled new heights tonight as the pair came face-to-face and exchanged heated words at the traditional pre-fight press conference in Saudi Arabia.
Billed as ‘The Truth’, Paul v Fury is the latest must-see sports event for young Saudi Arabians and the world. Two previous postponements have only intensified the animosity between the bitter rivals, and their back and forth war of words continued at Riyadh’s Al Faisaliah Hotel.
Both fighters criticized the other and vowed to end their opponents’ boxing career in devasting fashion on Sunday, setting the scene for an unmissable spectacle under the lights in Diriyah as one of professional boxing’s greatest rivalries reaches an epic climax. With each fighter promising a knockout finish, the thousands in attendance and millions watching around the world will finally witness the truth come out. Both put their reputations and unbeaten records on the line in one of the most anticipated match-ups in recent history.
“He’s a good boxer, I give him that credit,” stated Paul. “He’s fast, strong, he’s got that length with those inflatable arms — I don’t even know how his arms look like that. But there’s nothing he can do to stop me. He doesn’t have power. He couldn’t knock out Daniel Bocianski. He couldn’t knock out the taxi drivers he’s been put in there with, who have a combined record of 20 wins and 250 losses. He’s never been eight rounds and he’s going to be in the deep waters and drown. I promise that.”
Having initially gained international fame and popularity as an actor and social media personality, Paul (6-0, 4 KO) has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of boxing since turning his attentions to sport. Now a global phenomenon, ‘The Problem Child’ did not hold back on his personal feelings toward Fury, giving a scathing assessment in front of the world’s cameras and those in attendance.
“Tommy Fury has no idea what he’s getting himself into. He has delusional confidence right now, but it’s going to be a rude awakening for him on Sunday,” Paul continued. “He’s just a puppet who doesn’t think for himself. His brother and dad tell him what to say and he just acts like them. I really do wish him all the best. I hope he had a good camp and his weight’s good because he’s going to need everything to survive just a couple of rounds. He’s getting knocked out early for sure.”
Previously a reality television star in his native UK, Fury has looked impressive in his professional campaign so far, emerging victorious in each of his eight previous contests to amass a perfect 8-0 record with four wins coming by stoppage. Nicknamed ‘TNT’ because of his huge power and knockout ability, Fury has no doubts about this weekend’s winner and has given his prediction for the fight — an emphatic finish within the scheduled eight rounds.
“It’s a foregone conclusion I win this fight and Jake Paul won’t hear the final bell. As soon as I land flush, it’s over,” said Fury. “Preparations have gone really well ahead of this fight. I’ve trained too hard, sparred too many decent guys and have too much experience for there to be any other outcome. There’s nothing Jake Paul does inside that ring that has me worried. He’s delusional for believing he’s going to win — I’m levels above him and he’s going to find that out the hard way.”
For Fury, the boxing world is following his career with great interest given he comes from the famous fighting family of the same name. The half-brother of Tyson Fury, the unbeaten WBC and lineal heavyweight champion widely considered one of the best boxers of all-time, and cousin of Hughie Fury, a top contender in the heavyweight division, he insists the fans will see his ability to handle expectations with a knockout win on fight night.
“My last name’s Fury, so there’s always pressure and this is no different,” he added. “I handle pressure well and everyone will see that on the night. I’ll soak it up, enjoy the occasion, and get the win within the distance. This is my time now.”
Besides an epic main event, The Truth also features a mouth-watering undercard that promises to deliver an action-packed evening of drama and excitement for all in attendance. Ilunga Makabu puts his WBC cruiserweight world title on the line against former two-weight world champion Badou Jack in evening’s co-main event, with both seeking to emerge with the cruiserweight division’s most coveted prize.
Rising Saudi boxing star Ziyad Almaayouf looks to continue his professional ascension against Ronald Martinez. Almaayouf made his professional debut on the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ undercard last August and is looking to emulate his first round stoppage victory last time out in front of a sell-out crowd.
“I’m certainly taking on a tougher test with an opponent who’s been in a professional ring more times than I have, but I embrace this challenge and welcome the opportunity,” he revealed. “Each fight comes with pressure because I’m representing far more than myself and the sport of boxing, however diamonds emerge when the necessary pressure is applied and I will come through this test on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, history will be made in the evening’s preliminary bouts when Ragad Al-Naimi becomes the first Saudi female boxer to make her professional debut against Perpetual Okaidah. Female participation in boxing has never been higher across the Kingdom and Al-Naimi is proud to be performing on The Truth undercard in front of a home crowd.
“I’m excited to compete professionally for the first time in Saudi Arabia and I’m honored to be a part of this event, which really highlights the sustained efforts of the Ministry of Sport and Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation to grow our sport locally,” she said. “I’ve been training hard twice a day and really pushing myself in the build-up to this fight. I’m confident in my abilities and look forward to seeing my opponent in my ring.”
Having embraced openness and collaboration across the world, the entire Kingdom will be in the corners of their hometown heroes Sunday night. Across the country, sports participation is up from 13 percent to 23 percent in just four years — with the Ministry of Sport now aiming to reach 40 percent by 2030. Impressive displays by Almaayouf and Al-Naimi are sure to support this objective, especially with the Saudi sports industry now providing opportunities to over 22,000 nationals and 48.2 percent of people across the country practicing physical and sporting activities at least 30 minutes a week.
The Truth and Jake Paul v Tommy Fury promises to be an unmissable spectacle from Diriyah’s purpose-built arena and is part of Diriyah Season’s second edition, which presents a series of world-class international sports and entertainment events from the birthplace of Saudi Arabia and UNESCO heritage site.
Earlier tonight, the press conference proceedings also featured a Special Guest Panel including former world heavyweight champion ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, current undisputed lightweight world champion Devin Haney, perennial heavyweight contender and The Truth promoter Derek Chisora, and Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of Skill Challenge Entertainment. The quartet discussed the evolution of boxing in Saudi Arabia and what the future holds for boxing in the Kingdom.
Click here to book tickets for The Truth. Tickets are available from SAR 180. For VISA entry information, fans should go to https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ for information on how to apply.