YouTuber fights former NBA player Nate Robinson in November
Friday 9 October 2020 18:58, UK
Jake Paul has been sparring Hasim Rahman Jr, son of the former world heavyweight champion, who says the YouTube sensation can 'definitely fight!'
The social media star is preparing to face former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard of Mike Tyson's exhibition fight with Roy Jones Jr on November 28, and has sparred against unbeaten cruiserweight contender Rahman Jr.
An unbeaten 29-year-old with nine victories, including four knockouts, Rahman Jr has given his verdict on Paul's boxing skills.
How did you come to spar Jake Paul?
It first happened earlier this year. We boxed in California and that was when he was still a little green. Now he's been working, it's been over half a year now, and he's got a lot better. It's always good work with Jake. He was good work the first time I boxed him.
When I was boxing Joey Dawejko in California, getting him ready for his last fight, the Paul brothers walk in, so Logan boxes Joey and that's what kind of gave me the green light.
Okay, Joey is going to box him, I'm going to box the other guy. Let's go.
You sparred again this week - has Jake Paul improved?
I kind of expected the same thing that I boxed the first time - and that's not what I got.
I got somebody that had a better right hand, I had somebody that was actually stepping in with the jab. The best thing about it is - I had somebody that could control his distance.
The first time he couldn't really do anything like that. He was really just fighting. I could just tell that he had heart. Now he's using his distance better, he's actually stepping into his jab, instead of just putting it there, and he's throwing a good one-two.
He's definitely progressing and he's getting a lot better. I think that he'll handle Nate Robinson pretty easy.
What were your initial thoughts on YouTuber boxing?
My friend from high school, he's on Instagram and Twitter as Overtflow. When Logan Paul and KSI fought the first time, with the head gear in London, he fought on the undercard.
I trained him to get him ready for that fight. That's when I first became familiar with the whole YouTube fighters and all that stuff was breaking onto the scene.
Could Jake Paul progress in the sport?
Jake is definitely the better fighter of the two and he definitely could do a little something with boxing, if he keeps his mind to it. He's young, he has heart, he has a great team, and that's what is going to get him to wherever it is he wants to go, if he stays focused with it.
I think that he likes boxing a little bit more than his brother.
When you're getting millions of dollars inside your first 10 fights, it's kind of hard to get motivated for those fights against guys that have been doing this for 25 years.
He'll have some entertaining fights, he's an entertaining guy, but I don't know about world level. When it comes to world level fighting, now you're pushing it a little bit.
When will you aim to extend your unbeaten record?
My next fight will hopefully be October 31. I have a fight lined up in Mexico. I have to give a huge thank you to James Payton who saw my talent and said that he would help me out. We've been on a roll.
I'm looking forward to taking the Hasim Rahman Jr show down to Mexico. They love me down there.
What does your father think of your progress?
He feels like we could be moving a little bit faster, but we're taking the necessary steps to get to a world title at the end of the day, and nobody is at fault for the pandemic and nobody is at fault for fights being stopped, because of the coronavirus.
That's unfortunate, but my dad has my back, 100 per cent.
Would you like to fight in Britain?
I would love to fight in Britain. I love the fighting culture of the UK. I do not want to retire without fighting over there multiple times.
I have a longstanding history with myself and the UK, and a lot of people from the UK have been watching me since I was a child, since before I even started boxing. Hoping that I would box, hoping that I would come and one day fight over there.
My dad is a hero and a villain in the UK, so it's only right that I come over there and make some noise. There's a lot of cruiserweight talent, there's a lot of heavyweight talent, so there's a lot of big fights that can be made in the UK and I look forward to it.
I met him [Lawrence Okolie] in Saudi. I'm very familiar with the cruiserweight landscape and I'm coming to take over, so you've got to watch out.
You're a gym-mate of Michael Hunter - when will he return?
I think the best fight out there right now, the person that will give him the most competition in a fight is Oleksandr Usyk. When and if that does happen, I think Mike is going to win that rematch.
They don't know, but the more they duck him, the more that they don't give him his chances, the more that fire is burning in Michael. I've been a part of Michael's career since the amateurs, since he first made the Olympic team. I know exactly what he's capable of.
Michael poses the biggest threat in the heavyweight division, bar none.