Jake Paul’s return to the boxing ring will take on a new — yet very familiar — look after Tommy Fury, the younger brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, withdrew from the fight due to medical reasons that impacted his training camp, according to a press release from Showtime..
The news, first reported by the U.K. outlet The Mirror, was confirmed by Paul on Monday morning via social media.
Paul (4-0, 3 KOs), the YouTube sensation turned professional pugilist, will still fight in the main event of his Dec. 18 Showtime PPV from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, with former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley agreeing to replace Fury for a rematch on just two weeks’ notice.
“When my team woke me up on Friday to tell me Tommy was pulling out, I told them I’m ready to fight anyone on Dec. 18,” Paul said in the press release. “Troy, Trey, Trevor, Travis. I don’t give a damn who it is. So, as I predicted Tommy Fumbles and Tyron is there to pick it up, stepping in, and contractually he is getting an extra $500,000 if he knocks me out. First time I outboxed him. This time I’m gonna punish him and leave no doubt.”
The 39-year-old Woodley made his pro boxing debut in August when he lost an eight-round split decision against Paul in Cleveland, Ohio. Woodley fought well and arguably scored a knockdown that wasn’t called when the ring ropes held Paul up following a right cross.
“I am absolutely heartbroken that I have been forced to withdraw from my fight with Jake Paul due to a bacterial chest infection and broken rib, Fury said in a statement. “I really do hope we can get this fight rescheduled in the new year. I want this fight to still happen more than anything.”
Paul, 24, initially seemed willing to give Woodley a rematch following their close fight but only if his opponent followed through on a pre-fight bet to get an “I Love Jake Paul” tattoo somewhere on his body. Woodley eventually did get the tattoo on the middle finger of his left hand, although Paul chose to go in a different direction.
Fury (7-0, 4 KOs) was expected to be Paul’s toughest test to date and the first professional boxer he has faced following a run of early victories over fellow YouTubers and retired pro athletes from outside of the world of boxing. The 22-year-old Fury, who is known more for his reality television role on the U.K. series “Love Island,” boxed on the undercard of Fury-Woodley but looked sluggish in outpointing the much smaller MMA fighter Anthony Taylor (0-2).
The Paul-Woodley II card will also feature a special attraction fight pairing former NFL running back Frank Gore against ex-NBA point guard Deron Williams.