Ahead of their highly anticipated bout, Ben Askren and Jake Paul have shared some… fighting words. During a pre-fight press conference, Askren explained that the YouTuber must not have faith in the longevity of his boxing career.
On April 17, celebrity YouTuber Jake Paul will box decorated MMA (mixed martial arts) champion Ben Askren as the headline match for Triller Fight Club. Before the highly anticipated showdown, we took part in a press conference during which each fighter answered questions about themselves and their opponent.
This bout presents a first for both competitors. Paul, despite downing YouTuber AnEsonGib and NBA retiree Nate Robinson, has never officially boxed a professional from combat sports. Askren, meanwhile, is making his boxing debut — over a year after retiring from fighting.
At 36 years old, Askren is much more experienced than the 24-year-old Paul and has a career marked by Olympic wrestling gold medals and a 19-2 record in the UFC. Upon hearing that Paul was interested in wrestling the former gold medalist, he claimed that Jake’s challenge simply proves that “he realizes he doesn’t have a future in boxing.”
When asked if Askren would ever accept Paul’s challenge to wrestle, Askren expressed utter confusion and shared his thought process. “I cannot figure out — I always, always try to think of what is someone’s angle on this — I can’t figure out what his angle is. I don’t know. If he wants to wrestle, we can wrestle.”
Simply befuddled by Paul’s interest in wrestling, Askren continued to explain why the rationale is so perplexing: “Let’s put it this way, he wasn’t even good at high school wrestling. The notion that I couldn’t pin him in 20 seconds is hilarious. So I don’t really know what his angle is yet there.”
Touching on Paul’s inadequacies as a high school wrestler and his short career thus far as a boxer, Askren dissected the ‘challenge’ and explained that it reaffirms a belief he has been considering: “The one thing it does make me think is, which I’ve kind of always thought and this would be further proof, is that he realizes he doesn’t have a future in boxing.”
If Paul beats Askren, he will have defeated a YouTuber; a 36-year-old, 5’9” basketball player; and a 36-year-old, 5’10” MMA retiree coming off of a hip surgery. At 6’1” and 24 years old, the younger Paul brother’s commitment to the sport is directly questioned by Askren.
To argue why expressing interest in wrestling a world-recognized wrestler suggests lack of faith in a boxing career, Askren offered some concluding logic: “If your goal was to be a great boxer, you’re not going to take a couple nights off to wrestle somebody.”