You likely know Jake Paul as a YouTube star, but in recent years, the social media personality — who was already not without his share of controversy — has raised some eyebrows when he stepped into the ring to try his hand at boxing. The move was not without success, however, as Paul has won all of his fights so far and has proven himself to be quite the pay-per-view draw. The question nonetheless remains: Is Jake Paul actually a professional boxer? Here’s what you need to know.
The world of professional boxing is comprised of many international organizations both large and small. And unlike MMA, where one promotion stands tall above the rest (that’d be the UFC), there’s no one boxing league that dominates all others when it comes to hosting fights and selling tickets. A fight is simply considered professional if it is regulated and sanctioned by one of the recognized bodies that exist for this purpose. These sanctioning bodies set rules, help negotiate the contracts, assign judges and referees for the fights, and award their own championship belts.
There are dozens of international boxing organizations but the four main sanctioning bodies are the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Organization (WBO). These issue the most sought-after titles — any boxer who is referred to as the “undisputed” champion holds all four titles in his weight class from these bodies.
Any boxing match that is sanctioned and regulated by at least one of these agencies is a professional match, and any fighters that participate are professional boxers. Fights that aren’t officially sanctioned are considered amateur bouts, although these may also be advertised as “white collar” or “exhibition” matches. Non-professional bouts typically have fewer rounds than professional matches. In professional boxing, fighters are also allowed to dish out and take more physical punishment before the referee will halt the fight.
Jake Paul’s two fights in 2020 were indeed professional fights, and that makes Jake Paul a professional boxer. The first, in January, was against fellow YouTuber Ali Loui Al-Fakhri (better known as AnEsonGib, or simply Gib), followed by a match against former NBA player Nate Robinson in November. Paul won both via knockout. That gives him an official professional record of 2-0, although he previously fought KSI’s younger brother Deji in an amateur contest in 2018. Jake won that fight via knockout, too.
His third professional fight might not prove to be so easy. So far, none of Jake Paul’s opponents have been professional fighters themselves. The next one is different: On April 17, Jake will be going up against former UFC fighter and Bellator champion Ben Askren. Askren is an established fighter in the MMA world and has a professional record of 19 wins and two losses. He’s almost certain to be the fiercest opponent yet for the YouTube star, but time will tell if Paul’s training — and newfound status as a bona fide professional boxer — will help him over the top.
If you want to see for yourself, then you can buy the Triller Fight Club: Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren PPV on FITE.tv for $50. The four-hour event airs on April 17 and features four fights along with musical acts from Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and more.
- The 11 Best Boxing Matches of All Time
- Celebrate Muhammad Ali’s Birthday on January 17 with the Best Boxing Movies of All Time