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Jake Paul is stepping back into the ring.
The 24-year-old YouTube star is looking to tally another W tonight at Atlanta’s Mercdes-Benz Stadium, where he’ll go head-to-head with retired MMA fighter/wrestler Ben Askren. Presented by Triller Network, the celebrity boxing match has become one of the most-anticipated sporting events of the year, and follows Paul’s previous boxing wins over fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson.
Although Askren is a former welterweight champion in Bellator MMA, tonight will mark the 36-year-old’s boxing debut. Askren previously claimed he was permitted to use MMA moves during Saturday’s match; however, Paul told MMA Junkie that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t think the fight will last long enough for him to even think about taking me down,” Paul said Wednesday when asked about Askren potentially using MMA tactics. “We just signed the bout agreement days ago. He will lose his purse if he does that. … If he does do something like that, his purse is eliminated in the bout agreement. If he wants to lose all the money for the fight, then sure, go ahead. I am beating him up in wrestling shoes. He’s going to get beat up in wrestling shoes, which I think is hilarious.”
Askren responded to Paul’s comments with a tweet that simply read: “This is false.”
Despite their conflicting claims, Paul appeared to be pretty confident heading into the eight-round match.
“I don’t think Ben will be able to get near me,” he explained. “My distance control is 10 times better than his. And if he does, he’s going to get busted up on the inside. That’s one thing we really worked on in this camp is my inside fighting game. He can come in, but he’s going to get cracked. If he wants to hold me, he’s just going to be losing by points.”
The Paul vs. Askren fight can be livestreamed through FITE.tv for $49.99.
Other fights on the card include Regis Prograis vs. Ivan Redkac; Steve Cunningham vs. Frank Mir; Joe Fournier vs. Andres Felipe Robledo Lodono a.k.a. Reykon; Junior Younan vs. Jeyson Minda; Lorenzo Simpson vs. Francisco Torres; and Quinton Randall vs. William Jackson.