By Frank Warren
ON DECEMBER 18 our pre-Christmas offering is going to be something a little different this year.
As an event it will doubtless be spectacular and be watched by many millions around the world.
As you know, I have been in the game a long time and I certainly never imagined writing such sentiments about one of our 7-0 novices taking on a 4-0 rookie fighting against a boxer for the first time.
I guess you’ve got to move with the times!
I am actually highly delighted we have been able to play our part in putting together the match between Jake Paul and our man Tommy Fury in Florida in what I am sure will be a lively occasion and build-up ahead of the first blows being exchanged at the Amalie Arena.
I know people imagine I am against this sort of thing and it is not particularly my cup of tea because I am of a different vintage. However, I am a fight fan and I saw first hand back in August the excitement generated by a Jake Paul event and it can be no bad thing for boxing.
It isn’t some sort of freak show because Jake is doing it the right way. He takes the sport seriously, puts in the work and I have never had an issue with someone who wants to have a bash.
Jake comes from a content background so he is well versed in generating interest in himself and his activities. The numbers don’t lie and he is a big noise amongst the younger generation who, I suspect, either love him or hate him.
That has long been the recipe for success in the business of boxing.
The criticism levelled at Jake following his four pro fights to date was mostly about him not going in against a professional boxer. To be fair to him, given his lack of experience, he did jump in with a couple of opponents well seasoned in combat sports and this time around he is taking the plunge against a boxer.
Not just any old boxer, of course. Tommy fits the bill because of his own profile with the target audience. He is a strapping lad who would not look out of place on the catwalk, he is one half of a celebrity couple, he carries the famous Fury name and he picked up a huge following by taking part in a hit reality TV series.
All that being said, Tommy was a fighter before Love Island and quickly picked up the gloves again following his summer of love.
In many ways Tommy is an ideal candidate for Jake’s plunge into proper pugilism. His own experience is limited, he doesn’t have much of an amateur background and he is only seven fights into a fledgling pro career. He hasn’t been really tested yet and we have been taking our time with him for the reasons outlined above.
We do know he carries power but probably his biggest asset is the time he spends working alongside his older brother Tyson, who I understand will be in his corner on fight night, which will lend even more sparkle to the occasion.
You can never guarantee a great fight but this should be entertaining. The stakes will be incredibly high for both men. Tommy daren’t lose as he would be forever labelled as the boxer who lost to a YouTuber, while Jake’s boxing journey would likely be stopped in its tracks if Tommy does a job on him.
Who knows? This could be the beginning of something big for Tommy and he might well get asked back for a rematch or the chance of a repeat performance on the brother.
This won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the August card was strong and this one will be too, plus it is life changing money for Tommy so early in his career and I don’t begrudge him it one bit.
I WAS TOLD this week that Eddie Hearn said in one of his many interviews that I will have no influence over Tyson Fury’s decision making regarding his next fight.
For once he has got it about right. Tyson and Tyson only will determine his next move and he has more than earned that right. I am there to guide and advise before doing my bit to put in place whatever he decides to do.
At the moment Tyson is resting up and enjoying some family time, so we are not much the wiser when it comes to his thoughts on Dillian Whyte potentially being made WBC mandatory challenger. We will address the matter when everything is confirmed.
There was one time Tyson happily went along with my advice and it was when he was two fights into his return back in 2018. We were going to have four fights before jumping into anything meaningful but I fancied him to do a number on Deontay Wilder, who was then the undefeated WBC champion and craving a huge fight.
Tyson went along with my thinking and we were probably the only two people who thought it was a good idea. It was enough for me to make the call and negotiate the fight with Shelly Finkel.
Three Wilder fights later, still lineal champion, Ring Magazine and WBC champion, it wasn’t such a bad shout.