Tony Bellew has branded YouTube star turned professional boxer Jake Paul “stupid” and warned him he is risking lives by entering the ring.
Paul has three wins to his name from all three of his fights so far since turning pro, but is yet to face anyone with an established boxing record.
His brother Logan, meanwhile, has a solitary defeat from his only fight against YouTube rival KSI, but is now set to enter the ring with unbeaten former four-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather.
And Bellew has blasted the two brothers for making a mockery of the sport and fears that boxing’s reputation will eventually be dragged through the mud as a result.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Bellew said: “These guys aren’t fighters. If I go and play football tomorrow at Goodison Park does that make me a footballer? I wish it would cos I’d definitely just walk in and tell ‘em I’m playing!
“These guys aren’t true boxers. They’re someone that’s having a go at a sport. I’ve got no problem with that. But they shouldn’t actually call themselves professional fighters of any magnitude because it’s wrong what they’re doing to the sport by claiming they are fighters.”
“I’m ok with you making a few quid, the only thing I’m gonna say here that no one has ever touched upon before and you’ll hear it now for the first time… understand, someone’s gonna get hurt doing this and it’s gonna come back on boxing.
“Boxing is a professionally dangerous, brutal, business. Do not mess about trying to think this is showbusiness. There ain’t nothing funny about being in a ring with another man who wants to take your head off your neck. I’ve been there. I’ve done it.”
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Paul’s pro resume includes victories over fellow YouTuber Ali Eson Gib and ex-NBA basketball star Nate Robinson, before he took things up a notch by fighting former UFC welterweight Ben Askren, who was making his own boxing debut.
Since his latest win Paul has been calling out everyone from Mayweather to Conor McGregor, but Bellew can only see the comedy act ending in tears.
The former WBC world cruiserweight champion added: “I’ve fought with ten stitches above my eye, open gashes, broken noses, broken hands. It’s nothing to brag about. Believe you me someone will get hurt in one of these fights and then that’s when it’ll all come burning down.
“That’s when boxing will be called a joke of a sport; ‘this is a disgrace, this is wrong’. Just stop it now. The guys are stupid, they’re putting their lives at risk.”