Boxing’s newest superstar Jake “The Problem Child” Paul continued his rapid ascent within the sport Sunday night, scoring a split-decision win over former UFC Champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in front of a sold-out crowd of 16,000 fans at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio live on an action-packed SHOWTIME PPV telecast.
The judges scored the fight 78-74 and 77-75 for Paul, and 77-75 for Woodley.
“I don’t know what to say – he was a tough opponent and he’s been fighting for so many years and I’m still new to this,” said Paul, a renowned content creator who dove into the world of prizefighting just three years ago. “My legs felt weird, I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. All respect to Tyron though. He’s a Hall of Famer and put up a good fight. I have nothing but respect for him. There’s no hard feelings. This feels amazing to do this for my city and it’s a dream come true.”
After weeks of buildup, including an eventful fight week, Paul and Woodley swapped the verbal jabs for real punches and Woodley was a clear step-up from Paul’s previous three opponents, posing a true threat for the first time in Paul’s career. The 39-year-old who was making his pro boxing debut landed perhaps the most meaningful punch of the night, rocking Paul with an overhand right that sent Paul against the ropes. But it was Paul who was more active. He out-landed Woodley 71-52 in total punches, while Woodley out-landed Paul in power punches 41-35.
“He hit me with one shot the whole fight, and it was a good shot,” said the polarizing Paul. “It was one real good shot. I don’t know what that one judge saw. But l still got the victory. For me to come here and go eight rounds in my fourth fight, who does that? I’m doing things that have never been done.”
The former UFC Welterweight Champion Woodley, who made five successful defenses of his belt, believed he did enough to get the win in his professional boxing debut.
“I feel like I won the fight,” said St. Louis’ Woodley. “Jake is a great opponent. I didn’t expect him to eat my punches like that. But the fact that one judge only gave me two rounds is insane. Forget that Tommy Fury fight. Let’s run that back. Nobody is going to sell the PPV like we did. The ropes held him up when I hit him. I could have had that knockdown. I walked him down and landed back time and time again. I landed power punches, he missed shots all night.”