Jake Paul knocked out Ben Askren in the first round of his much-anticipated boxing match in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Paul, the celebrity on YouTube and on social media, landed a right hand that Askren spread out on the screen at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Askren, the retired MMA fighter, got up again and took the mandatory eight. But the referee waved off the fight at 1:59 in the first round when Paul improved to 3-0 as a professional boxer.
“This is the craziest moment of my life,” Paul said during a post-fight interview. “I told you everything I would do on the first round. I told you everything, I am a real fighter. I don’t know how many times I have to prove to myself that this is real. ”
The 24-year-old Paul improved to 3-0 with three knockout games.
After the referee stopped the fight, Paul dropped onto the canvas and sobbed. He had dedicated the fight to Shamir “Shadow” Bolivar, Paul’s late bodyguard who died earlier this month.
“He told me I would take out (Askren) in the first round,” Paul said of Bolivar. “He said he had a vision, a dream. These were the hardest 10 days of my life (since Bolivar’s death). I had to hold it together to keep this fight going. And I’m just honored to be here. ”
The 36-year-old Askren made his professional boxing debut. But with a 19-2 record as an MMA fighter and a two-time college wrestling champion in Division I, he was considered Paul’s most formidable opponent to date.
After the win, Paul became thoughtful standing next to Snoop Dogg and other celebrities.
“A few years ago, my teachers made fun of me in class and told me there was nothing I could do. I said I wasn’t smart, my schoolmates made fun of me, ”he said. “I used to do landscape. I just had a dream. I’ve been following it and working hard and thinking that I’m standing here next to these legends, legends right here, it’s amazing. “
After finding fame and fortune as an internet sensation, Paul started boxing about three years ago. He turned pro in 2019, beating TKO YouTuber AnEsonGib on his debut.
In November, Paul took out retired NBA star Nate Robinson in his second fight, followed by defeating Asken, who looked limp during the eight-round cruiserweight bout.