THE EYES OF the world, it seems, will switch to Saudi Arabia on Sunday for an eight-round fight between two rookies that has captured the imagination of an audience beyond boxing.
Jake Paul and our man Tommy Fury have engaged in social media warfare for over two years and, after a couple of false starts, we will now finally see them share a ring in Diriyah in what is an extremely lucrative showdown.
The talking, taunting and ranting will soon stop and we will see for ourselves whether these two modern day superstars of cyberspace can actually fight.
It is down to the nitty gritty and reality time for both of these young men who, let’s be honest here, have plenty of less brutal ways of making a living available to them.
They both want to prove they are the genuine article when it comes to boxing. Tommy has the background, the family pedigree and some experience as an amateur. He has grown up steeped in the sport and views Jake as an imposter who he can’t possibly lose to.
However, his professional experience is limited and, due to his romantic exploits on Love Island, he has found himself drawn into the showbiz sector currently attempting to establish a foothold in the sport.
If Tommy overcomes Jake, you can bet your bottom dollar that he is more likely to be called out by the likes of KSI than the Southern Area champion.
That is the way it is in this new world of celebrity fisticuffs and I, for one, don’t begrudge Tommy the life-changing financial rewards this brings for himself and his young family.
This fight won’t be for everyone, but I suspect the build-up will be pure theatre with a hint of panto thrown in for good measure. It is a fun fight and, at the very least, it has got even the most hardened boxing fan a little bit intrigued.
Jake Paul v Tommy Fury takes places on Sunday, live on BT Sport Box Office, from 6.30pm
OUR YOUNG FIGHTERS, on Friday, reinforced their reputations as forces to be reckoned with following a string of highly impressive performances at York Hall.
David Adeleye, Mark Chamberlain and Henry Turner all added to their stoppage tally at the business end of the bill and I believe the three of them are destined for big things. They are all still hovering in the learning phase of their careers, but are also the proud owners of international belts that provide a vital gateway to future success.
The L-plates will be off soon enough for David, Mark and Henry because they are proving their quality and demonstrating their readiness for a step up in terms of peril. All three are class acts.
Top young fighters must be built correctly over time and we have a responsibility to navigate their journeys towards ultimate success. We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if they were to figure in countless gruelling, life and death fights at this stage because there is only so many of them a fighter can endure across a whole career.
It is a progression and we know what we are doing when it comes to developing top young talents.
Royston Barney-Smith is a precocious young talent and the former elite amateur, just turned 19, has now clocked up three straight first round stoppages. It was noticeable that the shot he saw off this opponent with was the same one he was drilling in the changing room while warming up.
I was also very impressed with the performances of Carl Fail, who is now on the cusp of championship fights, along with the explosive Aloys Jr, who looks like he will shake up the cruiserweight division with a bit more experience.
It isn’t always plain sailing and Chris Bourke got himself back on track after a British title setback last year. In the first round it looked like he might be suffering from a hangover following his painful defeat, but he quickly sorted himself out and ultimately got the job done with a punishing array of body shots.
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