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Jake Paul edges Tyron Woodley by split decision in tense fight to remain unbeaten

The YouTube star weathered a storm in the fourth round to prevail on the cards. Two judges scored it 77-75 and 78-74 to Paul, with Woodley favoured 77-75 by the third judge.

Jack Rathborn
Monday 30 August 2021 08:19 BST
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Jake Paul outpointed Tyron Woodley in a tense eight-round contest in Cleveland to earn a split decision to remain unbeaten.

The former UFC champion did land the biggest shot of the fight, but his cagey approach was not enough to sway the judges.

Paul appeared drained in the closing rounds with the latest instalment of the YouTube boxing circus mostly failing to deliver on the pre-fight hype and trash talk.

Instead, Paul displayed the superior boxing, using the basics, moving well and proving to be the busier fighter with Woodley hesitant to let his hands go throughout.

The fight did spark into life in the fourth round when Woodley bounced a right off the top of Paul’s head after eating a series of jabs for three rounds.

Woodley immediately moved onto the front foot as the first bell sounded, pivoting off his front foot and popping a jab, which often fell short.

But Paul was happy to circle and scout the former UFC champion, offering more variety with his jab both landing both upstairs and downstairs.

A flurry of shots working off a body shot quickly provoked cheers from a packed arena in Cleveland.

And Woodley raced out in the second in a crouched position, spreading his weight and looking to launch explosive attacks from down low against the naturally bigger Paul.

But Paul resisted the trap and persevered with his boxing skills to move on the outside, picking his shots with Woodley unwilling to commit.

A beautiful three-punch combination in the third saw Woodley forced back as Paul started to find his range.

And growing in confidence, Paul shuffled around the ring before driving an exquisite uppercut through Woodley’s defence, stamping his authority on the fight.

But Woodley soon stunned Paul in the fourth, staggering him with a looping right over the top which saw the YouTube star bounce off the ropes as the fight finally exploded into life.

A smile emerged on Paul’s face as the bell sounded, perhaps finally conscious of the threat Woodley possessed.

And the showman in Paul came out in the fifth, licking his gloves after landing a left to finally end his minor crisis.

Like a dominant prospect finally being dragged into deep waters by a seasoned veteran, Paul’s conditioning was finally tested thanks to Woodley’s conservative game plan to wait for mistakes.

And despite his lack of experience in boxing, Woodley appeared at ease with the pace of the fight, nudging his foot forward to creep into range.

But Woodley often refused to pull the trigger, allowing Paul to accumulate rounds with the cleaner work.

Woodley, finally sensing some urgency, looked to seize the final round with his first flurry of shots, but both exhausted fighters ended up grappling in what proved to be uncharted territory for both men.

Paul, perhaps sensing the likelihood of a points victory, kept out of range as some boos started to ring around Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse as the action fizzled out.

A disappointed Paul admitted Woodley was better than expected, before refusing to confirm his next opponent

“I don’t know what to say, he’s a tough opponent, he’s been fighting for 20 years, I’ve been doing it for three, this one’s for Cleveland,” Paul said.

“It was a tougher fight than expected. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. All respect to Tyron. He’s a hall of famer, he’s a good fighter.

“There was a lot of s*** talk, there’s no hard feelings. I want to cry, but I’m a little tired. To win when all the pressure is on, he’s a tough opponent.”

“I'm not sure [if Tommy Fury is next]. I haven't stopped, I need to figure who I am. I'm keeping my head on straight, I'll get back in the gym when ready. Let's see.”

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