TYSON FURY kickstarted talks for the imminent multi million-pound boxing match between his brother Tommy and Jake Paul.
A single tweet from the Gypsy King in March, after Tommy went 5-0, caught Paul’s attention.
The end of the social media post read: “@jakepaul where you at?”
The YouTuber then hit back and claimed to have no knowledge of who Tommy was, despite his appearance on reality TV show Love Island in 2019.
He said: “I get to the bottom of the Tweet and he’s calling me out to like fight someone, and the Tweet is about his brother.
“Oh, I didn’t even know he had a brother. Then he’s calling me out to fight his brother, and I’m like, ‘Bro, what the f*** is going on here?’
“I didn’t know Tyson Fury had a bro? I like Tyson Fury.
“I don’t want a beef with Tyson Fury, but damn, if Tyson Fury took a s***, it would be his little brother.
“He’s literally like this little kid. My point is here. You’re Tyson Fury’s little brother. If you want to fight me, don’t let your big bro do s*** for you.
“Log in to Instagram or Twitter and call me out for yourself, bro. What’s going on in this boxing world?”
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Tommy, who was not aware Fury would call out Jake, then responded and quickly videos were being exchanged back and forth between the two.
It included Paul accusing Fury’s girlfriend Molly-Mae Hague of messaging him in 2018, while the British light-heavyweight mocked the American while wearing a blonde wig.
Soon after the verbal jabs, Paul, 24, knocked out retired UFC welterweight Ben Askren, 37, to go 3-0 in his career.
It had followed from knockouts over YouTube rival ‘AnEsonGib’ and ex-NBA player Nate Robinson, 37.
Tommy, 22, in June then went 6-0 while it was announced Paul would fight ex-UFC champion Tyron Woodley, 39, in August.
Beforehand, Tommy was considered as an opponent, but his profile Stateside was deemed not big enough.
Instead, Paul would have his rival fight on his undercard, against a sparring partner of his, Anthony Taylor, 32.
Tommy, who signed a two-fight deal with US network Showtime, won on points while Paul did the same – putting them on course for a grudge match.
And the rivalry reached new heights when the pair came face-to-face backstage, causing a melee between their teams.
Tommy said afterwards: “There was a moment in that corridor where everything was going off between the security, my team, his team and it was just me and him.
“I looked dead into his soul. When the cameras are not around, he doesn’t want to know.
“Let’s be honest, if he really wanted to fight me, I’d have been in that ring there at the end through the ropes, let’s go, there’s no return.
“But he didn’t want that and the reason why he didn’t want me in the ring is because if I was getting in there, he wouldn’t be able to go back on it.”
NEGOTATIONS OFFICALLY START
Talks between the two began soon after, but immediately hit a road bump.
Tommy admitted he rejected two fight offers, believing he was being lowballed.
So Paul publicly bumped the deal up to $1million, plus what SunSport understands to be additional pay-per-view bonuses.
But Tommy responded: “To everybody out there, $1million for a fight of this magnitude is not even worth getting out of bed for, this fight is going to gross millions and millions of pounds.
“I cannot walk down the street without anybody asking me when are you fighting Jake Paul, so until you want to make a serious offer and put it on the table, we can’t think about fighting pal.”
A NEW HOPE
Paul’s advisor Nakisa Bidarian told SunSport: “This is an unbelievable offer.
“More than most UFC champions get as a guaranteed base. It’s comical them saying it’s not worth getting out of bed for.”
But hope was not lost and again it was back to the negotiation table, with an agreement edging closer.
Tommy’s promoter Frank Warren even revealed terms are being finalised for a fight by the end of the year.
Warren told iFL TV: “Hopefully we’ll finish it off this week and we can move forward. It’ll be in late November, December.”
Paul has since remained silent, a sign that an agreement could be close, while Tommy was full of confidence.
Before Fury’s trilogy win over Deontay Wilder, he said on BT Box Office: “Things are looking good.
“I can’t say too much as I leave that up to my lawyers. But things are looking good, stay tuned.”
And whether purist and traditional boxing fans like it or not, many will stay tuned, and likely contribute to a PPV blockbuster success.