Boxing royalty, Tommy Fury, will look to score the biggest win of his young career opposite social media upstart, Jake Paul, this Sunday (Feb. 26, 2023) on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
The narrative of this fight is really a funny way to highlight the weirdness that is boxing matchmaking. Paul is a boxing rebel because he became famous in the ring by fighting older, semi-retired MMA fighters. Fury represents the much more time honored tradition of fighting absolute nobodies to build an undefeated record, then acting like smacking around bums is the height of legitimacy.
Make no mistake, Paul will be the best fighter Fury has faced yet. Before the two square off, let’s take a closer look at his boxing skill:
A 23-year-old talent with some pop in his punches and an 80 inch reach, Fury is about what one would expect of an unproven prospect. A lot of his quick knockout wins simply came down to differences in size, strength, and aggression, as Fury was able to run through them with blitzes.
In fights that went beyond the opening two rounds, Fury looks a lot more normal. He does a decent job of making use of his reach with the jab. Fury likes to use the jab to march forward, ducking behind his lead shoulder and getting his head off the center line as he advances. He very often doubles the jab, granting him an extra step to close distance.
Why would a fighter with an 80 inch reach want to close distance? Fury’s most frequent combination is probably the double jab-right hook to the body, so that’s primary reason. That combination could be thrown while maintaining distance, but Fury often likes to crash forward into the clinch, which does help ensure his opponent cannot really answer back.
To his credit, Fury does build off his right body hook well. He’ll shift his weight over to show the shot and instead take an angled right hand upstairs on occasion. Alternatively, Fury will add another left hook to the body if he doesn’t end up entangled in the clinch.
Fury’s other big offensive combination is the right uppercut-left hook-cross. Again, he’ll lean over his right leg and load it up, and he does fire the trio of power punches with a good fluidity. On occasion, he’ll follow up with more swings, particularly if his opponent backs off.
In his last bout, Fury faced off with Daniel Bocianski, his first opponent with a winning record in professional boxing. As a result, he was forced to show off a bit more of his game than usual. His size and power still dictated most exchanges and kept Bocianski too far to land, but six full rounds of boxing also allowed Fury to show off his counter game.
On several occasions, Bocianski tried to jab forward, only to be interrupted by a nice plant right hand. Fury’s footwork was also notable in this match up. He showed off that he largely operates on straight lines, charging forward or backing himself into the ropes on the rare occasion when Bocianski did press. Fury did occasionally pivot out on his lead leg, but those moments were uncommon.
This is far and away the biggest moment of Fury’s career. If he’s successful, perhaps Fury can overcome his “fumbles” reputation and prove that he’s more than the younger brother of a famous champion.
Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.