Love Island star Fury and social media sensation Paul seem to be on a collision course for a fight – but their rivalry began over a set of made-up viewing figures
Jake Paul and Tommy Fury are heading for a huge pay-per-view clash – but the feud started with an internet troll.
The rivals return to the ring tomorrow night against Tyron Woodley and Anthony Taylor respectively knowing victories will likely set up a showdown against each other.
Fury, handled in the UK by the hall-of-fame promoter Frank Warren, is now locked into a two-fight deal with Showtime, who recently signed Paul to a multi-fight contract.
But the entire feud started with Fury’s brother, heavyweight world champion Tyson, falling for an internet hoax about his sibling’s viewing figures.
When the younger Fury toppled journeyman Scott Williams on a Warren-promoted studio show earlier this year, one Twitter user decided to make a graphic showing some astronomical viewership numbers.
Amanda Westcott/Showtime Boxing)
The nonsensical post declared that only 48,000 of DAZN’s two million plus subscribers tuned in to watch Joseph Parker vs Junior Fa, and 105,000 turned on pound-for-pound great Canelo Alvarez’s title defence against Avnyi Yildrim.
But the most outrageous claim stated that on a show with an average of 58,000 viewers, BT Sport had drawn in 1.9m viewers as Fury stepped into the ring to stop Williams.
The figure would have required almost 50 per cent of the broadcaster’s subscribers to tune in to watch the reality TV star, but Tyson was duped and posted the numbers alongside a message calling out Paul.
Paul, no stranger to milking conflict for social media hits, took to his Instagram and Twitter to aim a verbal shot at Fury, saying he needed to call him out for himself.
When he did respond a day later, Paul hit back mocking the then 5-0 fighter, and the pair traded insults back-and-forth.
But Paul opted to fight former UFC star Ben Askren who was considered at the time to be a big step-up given his fighting background, so talk of meeting Fury was put on hold.
The YouTube star revealed to Mirror Fighting that he planned to get Fury on the undercard for that bout, but a number of factors caused negotiations to collapse.
Paul ended up handily dispatching of Askren on a bizarre show by newcomers to the boxing business Triller.
And after leaving Triller to sign with Showtime Boxing, talks of a potential match-up between he and Fury resurfaced, but the YouTuber ended up choosing to fight decorated MMA legend Woodley instead.
He implored Fury in an Instagram post, responding to a call-out video that featured Tyson and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, to fight an opponent with a winning record, which he obliged by beating 2-0 Jordan Grant in June.
Paul then came up with an idea of bringing Fury to the United States that piqued the interest of both parties; a fight with his sparring partner and MMA veteran Taylor.
The brash Californian had been working with Paul in his Puerto Rican training camp to prepare him for the shorter, unorthodox movements of Woodley, and the YouTuber was impressed with what he saw.
Paul ultimately offered the fight to Taylor and now only his sparring partner stands in the way of a fight which will attract interest on both sides of the Atlantic – without fake pay-per-view numbers.