Tommy Fury defeats social media influencer Jake Paul via split decision

(CNN) YouTuber Jake Paul suffered the first loss of his fledgling boxing career on Sunday night when reality TV star turned professional Tommy Fury ousted him in a split decision in Saudi Arabia.

Two judges scored the fight both 76-73 for Fury, with the third judge scoring 75-74 in Paul’s favor at the end of their eight-round cruiserweight bout at the Diriyah Arena near the capital Riyadh.

“My first main event, 23 years old, I had the world on my shoulders and I came through,” Fury said after the fight. “It’s a world championship fight for me. I trained so hard for it. That was my destiny.”

British reality TV star Tommy Fury (C) celebrates after his split decision win over US YouTuber Jake Paul.

Paul, a 26-year-old American with more than 20 million YouTube subscribers, is now 6-1 while Fury, the younger British half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, is unbeaten with nine wins after taking a break from his boxing career has taken on the lead role in the reality show Love Island in 2019.

Millions of fans were expected to tune in to the fight, the latest pay-per-view fight involving a YouTuber, to create a buzz on social media as promoters spread the bad blood between the two fighters played up. And just like a real world championship match, there were plenty of stars ringside, including former champion Mike Tyson, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and comedian Kevin Hart.

Fury maintained his jab early on to keep Paul at a distance, but the YouTuber picked up momentum in the fifth round and appeared to stun Fury.

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Both had points deducted – Paul in the fifth for clinching his opponent’s head down, and Fury in the sixth for clinching too much, a defensive tactic often only allowed for short periods of time.

Mike Tyson is seen before the fight at Riyadh’s Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia.

Fury was knocked down by Paul with a short left hand in the eighth round but it was too late as the judges ruled in Fury’s favour.

Paul said he intends to use a rematch clause for Sunday’s fight, which could be exercised if Fury wins.

“All respect to Tommy, he won, don’t judge me by my wins, judge me by my losses. I’ll come back, I thought I deserved this rematch, it was a great fight, a close fight,” Paul said after the fight.

Paul only started boxing in 2018 but had since recorded six wins before Sunday – including four knockouts. However, Fury was the first professional boxer Paul faced.