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Jake Paul v Ben Askren: World awaits seriously weird boxing event in Atlanta

Sport is all set for one of its craziest events on Saturday evening in Atlanta when trash-talking YouTuber Jake Paul takes on former MMA fighter Ben Askren in an overhyped eight-round boxing match.

Crazy because this is the first time that what started off a fun challenge on social media has actually evolved into a genuine event. Perhaps genuine is not the right word, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Jake Paul v Ben Askren has captured the attention of the sporting world — a world short of offbeat entertainment. This circus will include performances from music artists such as Justin Bieber, the Black Keys and Snoop Dogg in front of a live sold-out audience that will include supermodel Taylor Hill, Mario Lopez and TikTok superstars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio.

The main event of a lopsided seven-event card is scheduled for 5am UAE time on Sunday. Paul and Askren will face off at cruiserweight (200lb or under). Paul weighed in the heavier of the two at 189lb while Askren shadowed around mid-170s.

OK, so we know that Irishman Conor McGregor gave a good account of himself when he took on the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in an ‘MMA fighter meets boxer fight’ before his 10th-round knockout in 2017 in Las Vegas. But this fight looks lopsided, to say the least.

Paul is essentially a YouTube personality with sizeable following who has recently gained popularity as a boxer, although he has only fought three opponents. He first fought Deji Olatunji, the brother of KDI who squared off with Logan Paul on the undercard.

After that bout Paul fought professionally twice, most recently knocking out former NBA star Nate Robinson on the undercard of Mike Tyson’s comeback against Roy Jones junior

Since then he has challenged the likes of McGregor and his training partner Dillon Danis, but now finds himself set to take on 36-year-old UFC and Olympic fighter Askren, who boasts a career record of 19 wins from 22 fights.

However, Askren whose MMA career ended when he was violently knocked out by UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal in five seconds, has little or no boxing ability.

A world champion in two organisations, Bellator and One FC, Askren made an impressive UFC debut when he checked out former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in March 2019.

International oddsmakers have Askren the massive favourite to bring Paul’s part in the evening’s ‘entertainment’ to an abrupt end, while the likes of Bieber, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube add to the evening’s pomp.

Fight card

Jake Paul v Ben Askren
Regis Prograis v Ivan Redkac
Steve Cunningham v Frank Mir
Joe Fournier v Andres Felipe Robledo Lodono
Junior Younan v Jeyson Minda
Lorenzo Simpson v Francisco Torres
Quinton Randall v William Jackson