Boxing fans who have wanted to see Jake Paul finally face an experienced professional fighter will get their wish on Saturday, April 17 when the YouTube star takes on former Bellator MMA champion Ben Askren in an eight-round boxing match. The fight was confirmed to ESPN by Triller founder Ryan Kavanaugh on Tuesday.
Paul improved his pro record to 2-0 in November after scoring a viral knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson on the undercard of the Triller pay-per-view for the exhibition fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. His prior victory was over fellow internet personality AnEsonGib. Paul followed up the Robinson win by calling out every professional fighter imaginable, with a strong focus on trying to land a fight with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Instead, Paul will face off with Askren, a former champion in the ONE and Bellator MMA organizations who retired from active competition in 2019 after back-to-back losses in the UFC. While Askren does check the box of being an accomplished professional fighter, he is not a professional boxer. Askren's background is in amateur wrestling, where he was a two-time Division I champion in college, a world champion in 2009 and a competitor on the 2008 Olympic freestyle wrestling team.
Triller scored massive success with the fight between Jones and Tyson, pulling in big pay-per-view numbers for the battle between retired boxing legends. Paul has now been a part of two big cards, though the April 17 event will be the first event he has headlined.
Paul's older brother, Logan, has been tied to a February exhibition fight with Floyd Mayweather, though there are reports that the fight may have been postponed to a later date.