Jake Paul given warning about facing Hasim Rahman Jr instead of Tommy Fury

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Former world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew reckons Jake Paul is facing a much sterner challenge against Hasim Rahman Jr on August 6.

YouTube loudmouth Paul was set to face Fury, the brother of world heavyweight champion Tyson, next month at Madison Square Garden. That fight was cancelled though when Fury was blocked from entering the US for a scheduled press conference in New York.

Paul gave his rival a week to sort out his visa issues at the US embassy but Fury never made a trip to fix the issues so a decision was made to pull him out of the fight. The YouTuber, who is 5-0 as a professional fighter, will now face Rahman Jnr, the son of former world heavyweight champion Hasim Snr.

READ MORE: Jake Paul not allowed to fight MMA stars after Tommy Fury bout cancelled

Rahman Jr is 12-1 as a professional and nowhere near the level of his father as he is coming off a defeat but will be the first boxer Paul has ever faced with his previous opponents a mix of MMA fighters, a basketball player and a gamer.

In his DAZN column, Bellew said: "I’m shocked he went for Rahman Jr. Make no mistake, there are plenty of flaws with Rahman Jr. and he’s nowhere near the level his father was, or will he ever likely be.

"He’s been brought along okay as a professional up to this point, but there was a bump in the road earlier this year when he was stopped by James Morrison, the son of former world champion, Tommy. Has that result had an impact on Paul’s decision to select Rahman?

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"Whatever his reasons for insisting on Rahman Jr., I’m massively impressed that Paul has taken this step because this is a significant step up from what he’s used to as he’s in there with an actual professional boxer. This is a much harder fight than his original contest with Fury, and I’m trying to figure out why Paul has gone down this route."

Paul and Rahman Jr have shared the ring before in sparring sessions so they both know what to expect when the face off for real next month.

"The two fighters have sparred each other so they know each other well and I’m thinking that either Paul or his trainer believe they can exploit a Rahman weakness in a big way," said Bellew.

"You shouldn’t take too much from sparring as it’s never really a level playing field depending on circumstances, but I’m almost certain that Paul has seen something that gives him huge confidence.

"As you know, I was in some vicious spars during my career against the likes of David Haye, Carl Froch and Marcus Browne, and I had my good days and bad days. No matter what happened, I’d never ever let it go to my head or get me down as what mattered on the night was the most important thing. I hope Paul is aware of this and isn’t making this decision purely on sparring."

Bellew is not sure Paul can achieve success in boxing with the American claiming he will one day become a light-heavyweight world champion. But the British boxing star does admit if the YouTuber beats Rahman Jr then he is serious about the sport.

He added: "Depending on what happens next month, we’re going to know a lot more about Paul’s potential as a boxer. He’s out here saying he’ll be a world champion at 175lbs, but even fighters entering the game with Olympic medals can't be certain when making boasts like that.

"There’s a big difference in fighting a novice pro and then dealing with Artur Beterbiev a few fights down the line.

"If Paul can defeat Rahman Jr, then it’s probably time to accept that he’s serious about boxing. Another fight in the shape of Rahman Jr, or even getting the Fury fight on would be the sensible option for his next fight, but I’d like to see him get busier.

"He needs to fight more if he wants to improve quicker and next month will tell us how much he needs to improve. I can’t wait to find out."

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