Jake Paul is once again left standing at the altar while waiting for a fight with Tommy Fury to materialize.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the previously announced Paul-Fury bout is officially in a holding pattern. Manchester’s Fury went on record Tuesday morning to verify previously suggested rumors that he was turned away at London’s Heathrow Airport due to his ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authority) document being denied, preventing the Brit from traveling to the U.S.
So, I just want to come on here and set the record straight before anybody else tries to,” Fury stated in a video posted on his verified social media channels. “Me and my team this morning arrived at Heathrow Airport ready for the press conference, ready to fly out. And as soon as I entered the airport I got pulled to one side and I was told by the Homeland Security officer that was there that my ESTA had been denied and I wasn’t able to travel to the USA for a reason that I apparently know.
“I can stand here and say I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong and I have no clue why I’m not allowed to travel to the USA. I’ve been training for a fight this whole time and that’s all I’ve been doing.”
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the matter has forced the cancellation of a press conference scheduled for Wednesday in New York City to formally announce the August 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View event. News of the development made its way to Paul and his Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) company.
“Despite many assurances by Tommy Fury’s team that he was able to come to the U.S., and knowing that Tommy was in California just last month, we were surprised to learn that he had an issue at Heathrow Airport on Monday,” MVP confirmed in a statement attributed to the company as a whole. “As a result of circumstances out of our control, the scheduled press conference for Wednesday at MSG has been postponed.
“We are working with our partners at SHOWTIME and Madison Square Garden and will share more information as soon as we are able.”
The travel issues experienced by Fury (8-0, 4KOs) do not appear to be related to the sanctions imposed on accused Irish crime lord Daniel Kinahan by the U.S. Treasury Department, despite reports from other publications attempting to connect the dots. Such sanctions are reported—but not yet publicly confirmed—to have affected the travel plans of Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23KOs), Tommy’s older brother and the reigning lineal/WBC heavyweight champion who was similarly turned away earlier in the month when attempting to travel to Miami.
A reported no-fly list is in place, with up to 600 people identified as having close enough ties to Kinahan to disqualify them from entry into the U.S. as established earlier this spring. Tommy Fury has since traveled to California this past May along with his girlfriend in celebration of his 23rd birthday on May 7—after the sanctions were imposed, the list was reportedly established and parties were already being denied entry into the country.
Tommy Fury initially experienced travel issues last spring but was eventually able to make his way to the U.S. where he trained ahead of his stateside debut last August 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. The bout took place on the undercard of a Showtime Pay-Per-View event headlined by Paul’s eight-round decision win over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.
The two have remained heated rivals, initially through social media and then in person throughout fight week and well into the aftermath of Paul’s Showtime debut. The rivalry was to grow into a head-on collision scheduled for last December 18 on Showtime PPV from AMALIE Arena in Tampa, Florida. However, Fury withdrew from the event on short notice after suffering a chest infection and rib injury. Paul (5-0, 4KOs) moved forward with the event, which turned into a rematch with Woodley whom the social media celebrity and cruiserweight novice iced in a one-punch, sixth-round knockout.
Paul hasn’t since fought, taking a much-needed break and also focusing on the managerial side of MVP which represents record-setting, seven-division champ Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs).
His efforts led to Brooklyn’s Serrano—who appeared in the televised co-feature on each of Paul’s last two shows—securing a career-high seven figure payday for her April 30 superfight with undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. The bout—which aired live on DAZN—drew a sold-out crowd of 19,187 and a live gate of $1,450,180.60, bearing witness to Taylor’s narrow, split decision win over Serrano in the leading candidate for 2022 Fight of the Year.
Paul confirmed the following day, May 1, his return to the ring which at the time was due to take place August 13 against an unnamed opponent. The date was moved up by one week and packaged as a dual main event with Serrano featured in the co-main slot. Opponents weren’t named at the time, until it was confirmed that Fury was on board to move forward with the event, while Serrano was set to return to featherweight to defend her WBC/WBO/IBO titles versus interim WBO titlist Brenda Karen Carbajal.
The event moved forward only after MVP and Showtime were given assurances that Fury would not have any issues traveling to the U.S., despite the trials and tribulations of other family members.
In addition to Tyson Fury’s current situation, John Fury, Tommy’s father and head trainer, is not allowed in the U.S. due to a conviction in 2011 for gouging out the eyes of longtime nemesis Oathie Sykes at the end of a bitter feud that extended back to 1999. The family patriarch was not in the corner for Tommy’s stateside debut last August in a win over Anthony Taylor, but was on site for Fury’s six-round win over Daniel Bocianski this past April 23 at Wembley Stadium, where Tyson scored a sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte to defend his championship in the main event.
The elder Fury was not going to be present for the previously confirmed August 6 date due to the remaining travel ban in place for his sordid past. The younger Fury was due to work with renowned cornerman Shane McGuigan for the fight.
For now, it’s up to Fury and promoter Queensberry Promotions to sort out the travel issue for which the other side was given assurances of it not being an issue for the light heavyweight prospect.
“I have no clue why they would not allow me to travel today and neither does any of my team or my lawyers,” suggested Tommy Fury. “So now I’m having to go to them trying to resolve it, and I’m in the middle of training. I don’t know why this is happening today, it’s a massive shock to me and my whole team.
“Obviously it is a matter that needs to be resolved. It’s government issues, it’s a lot bigger than the fight right now and I’m just trying to get it sorted.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox