Jake Paul, the internet personality turned pro boxer, has his next fight set, and this time he’ll be competing against an actual professional fighter.
Paul will face former UFC fighter Ben Askren in an eight-round pro boxing match on April 17, Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN.
The fight will take place under the Triller Fight Club banner and will serve as the main event. The location of the event, which will air on traditional pay-per-view platforms, hasn’t been finalized yet.
The full card, which is expected to feature familiar names from the world of boxing, present and past, as well as other social media celebrities and MMA fighters all competing in boxing matches, will be revealed in the coming weeks.
According to Kavanaugh, the fight will be contested with 10-ounce gloves in a 20-by-20 ring. It will mark the first pro boxing match of Askren’s career.
“I know Jake Paul is enjoying pretending he is a fighter,” Askren said. “I think on April 17 he is going to have a rude awakening to what being a fighter is really like. Jake has led a privileged life and doesn’t really know what the meaning of being a fighter is. I’m going to put his dreams to an end.”
Askren, who is still under contract with the UFC, received permission from the company to take the fight, sources say.
While the weight class for the fight hasn’t been finalized yet, sources say it is expected to be contested in the 185-190-pound range.
Paul, a 24-year-old who is considered one of the most popular and polarizing personalities on the internet and is the younger brother of fellow social media influencer Logan Paul, has made waves in the boxing world since his debut in January 2020. On that night, he defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, real name Ali Loui Al-Fakhri, via first-round TKO. He followed that up with a second-round knockout of former NBA player Nate Robinson in November.
Since then, Paul, who is also an actor and rapper, has had a slew of pro fighters and athletes call him out. He ultimately chose to fight Askren next.
“Ben Askren is a two-time NCAA champion, a world champion in two different global mixed martial arts organizations and has less losses on his record than Conor McGregor,” Paul said.
“Me, on the other hand, I started boxing two years ago and I’m still going to knock his ass out faster than [Jorge] Masvidal. These MMA guys think because they throw punches they know how to box. The world complained because I knocked out a basketball player and not a real fighter. So now I’m giving the people what they want by taking on a ‘real fighter.’ After Ben Askren is added to my knockout meme collection, what can anybody say? Thank you to Triller Fight Club for giving me the platform to once again put a man to sleep. April 17, it’s lights out for Askren.”
Askren, 36, retired from MMA last year after announcing he needed hip replacement surgery. He had successful surgery in August.
His athletic résumé is an impressive one. Among the accomplishments: former two-time NCAA wrestling champion, a two-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner, a 2008 Olympian, and a former Bellator and One Championship welterweight champion.
He started his career a perfect 19-0 (1 NC) before getting knocked out in five seconds by Masvidal in July 2019, which is the fastest knockout in UFC history. His last fight was a submission loss to Demian Maia in October 2019.
“Triller took the opportunity to allow Jake and Triller fans to have their voice be heard for who Jake should fight,” Kavanaugh said. “The overwhelming vote was Askren.”
This will mark the second boxing event that Triller, a video-making and social-networking app, has held. The first was co-headlined by Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. and Paul vs. Robinson in November.