YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul (7-1, 5 KOs) defeated MMA legend Nate Diaz by a unanimous decision in their matchup on Saturday night held at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Paul dropped Diaz in the second round and dominated the fight in earning a 98-91, 97-92, and 98-91 victory.
“He’s real tough,” said the 26-year-old Paul, a native of Cleveland, afterward. “But tough in this sport doesn’t work.” Paul’s only defeat since embarking on a boxing career and making his debut on January 30, 2020, was against Tommy Fury three years later (January 27, 2023). The bout ended in a decision for Fury. Two judges scored it for Fury and one for Paul. In upcoming fights, Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) will defend his WBO junior lightweight title against Oscar Valdez Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs) in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday night on ESPN. Navarrete hasn’t lost in over a decade, and Valdez, who defeated Adam Lopez in the co-main event on the Haney vs. Lomachenko fight card, suffered the only loss of his career to Shakur Stevenson in April of last year. “What has been missing in my career is precisely a victory against someone like Valdez,” said Navarrete. “(Valdez) says he’s going to knock my head off, but let’s see whose head comes off first. Let’s see what Valdez has to offer, and let’s see how much he can endure and how much I can endure, too.” Valdez assessed his opponent before the match. “It’s one of the most important fights of my career because it means everything for me to come back and win that title,” he said. “We all know that Navarrete has an awkward style. We might not have the perfect sparring that can emulate his style. But we try to imitate him in the mitt work and strategy. He’s not your typical fighter that throws straight shots.” Also on Saturday, Emmanuel Rodríguez (21-2, 13 KOs) will take on Melvin Lopez (29-1, 19 KOs) for the vacant IBF bantamweight at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland and on Showtime. Both fighters discussed the matchup at a recent press conference. “I’m happy to have this chance to become a world champion again,” Rodriguez said. “We’re gonna go out there to win in spectacular fashion and my goal is to show that I’m the best fighter in the world at 118 pounds. My goal is to become undisputed at bantamweight.” Lopez is eagerly looking forward to the opportunity.
“I’m very excited that the time is almost here to fight for a world title,” Lopez said. “We’ve had a great training camp and everyone has sacrificed and worked hard so that we’re at our best on August 12.” On another card this Saturday, in London, United Kingdom, former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua takes on Robert Helenius, who is a replacement for Dillian Whyte, who tested positive for an illegal performance-enhancing substance.
Joshua suffered the first loss of his career to a replacement fighter, Andy Ruiz, at Madison Square Garden in June 2019. Meanwhile, Helenius suffered a first-round knockout to Deontay Wilder at Barclays Center in October 2022.