Jake Paul’s third pro boxing match seemingly will be more difficult than his first two bouts.
Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN.com on Tuesday morning that Paul will face former UFC fighter Ben Askren in an eight-round cruiserweight fight April 17. The polarizing Paul announced last week that he would return to the ring April 17, but the popular YouTuber’s opponent hadn’t been revealed until Tuesday.
Kavanaugh also noted that Paul-Askren will be the main event of a pay-per-view show April 17.
Paul, who is trained by retired heavyweight and cruiserweight B.J. Flores, knocked former NBA guard Nate Robinson unconscious in the second round of his last fight. A crushing right hand by Paul left the inexperienced Robinson face down on the canvas November 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Paul-Robinson bout was part of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. pay-per-view undercard.
The 24-year-old Paul, a Cleveland native, has won both of his pro boxing bouts by knockout. He stopped AnEson Gib in the first round of his pro debut last January 30 on the Demetrius Andrade-Luke Keeler undercard in Miami.
The 36-year-old Askren called out Paul following his sensational knockout of Robinson and they went back and forth on social media until they came to an agreement on this fight. Askren is much more experienced in combat sports than either of Paul’s first two opponents.
Askren was a four-time All-American and two-time NCAA championship wrestler at the University of Missouri before embarking on an MMA career.
Askren has a 19-2 record in pro MMA matches, including six knockouts and six submission wins. He was a Bellator welterweight champion before signing to compete in UFC in November 2018.
He is perhaps most known for his suddenly stunning loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in July 2019. Masvidal knocked out Askren with a flying knee a mere five seconds into the first round.
Masvidal’s victory over Askren remains the fastest knockout in UFC history.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.