Jake Paul, the YouTuber-turned-prizefighter, has already made a major splash in boxing inside the ring. But he continues to make waves out of it as well.
Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) added a new member to its fighter roster Monday, signing top boxing prospect Ashton Sylve to a deal, Paul and his business partner Nakisa Bidarian of Bavafa Sports told ESPN.
Sylve, from Long Beach, California, is just 18 years old and is already 7-0 with seven knockouts as a pro, fighting at 126 pounds. He has been training in boxing since age 6 under his father Ivan.
Bidarian said Sylve is already the fourth-most followed boxer in his weight class on social media and understands “branding himself,” which, combined with his sizeable potential, was a factor in their agreement.
“He kind of checks a lot of boxes that you would want in terms of the next big star in boxing,” Bidarian said. “And just spending time with him and his family, it was clear that there was a natural affinity to each other.”
Along with Paul, MVP boasts top women’s boxer Amanda Serrano, whom the company signed last September. Paul and MVP were heavily involved in putting together Serrano’s fight with Katie Taylor on April 30, the first-ever women’s combat sports main event at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“When I came into the sport, I wanted to do two things: really push women’s boxing forward and signing Amanda Serrano,” Paul said. “And we wanted to help with young prospects and really help and be crucial in creating the next big thing in the sport of boxing.
“We believe Ashton has that talent, that flashiness, that style, that knockout power, that charisma to really be a massive, massive superstar and one of the next highest-paid boxers in the game in a very small and short amount of time.”
Sylve said there is a measure of “freedom” in this deal that allows him and his team to do their own thing, but also get input from MVP. He said he has watched what Paul has done in boxing in a short amount of time and felt drawn to that.
“I just felt like it was great synergy over there with Jake,” Sylve said. “I felt like we’re gonna do big things, the marketing genius that he is, he and Nakisa. I’ve been watching them since he started boxing and seeing everything that’s been growing up and waiting to become, I kind of felt myself the need to be there and be part of the team.”
Serrano was featured on Paul’s undercard during his last two fights, and Paul said that will also be the plan for Sylve moving forward. Sylve’s next fight, though, is scheduled for May 21 in Pomona, California, before Paul competes again.
Sylve turned pro at 16 and fought in Mexico until he turned 18 in January. Sylve beat 41-year-old Aldimar Silva on Feb. 26 via KO.
Paul, an Ohio native who lives and trains in Puerto Rico, said Sylve has been to Puerto Rico to train with him and expects that to continue in the future.
Sylve, who doesn’t graduate from high school for another two months, said there were other promotions interested in him, such as Mayweather Promotions, Matchroom and Golden Boy.
“It took me two years, going through all those promotions, to kind of figure out where I’m wanted and where I fit in,” Sylve said.
Paul, 25, said he’s planning his own return to the ring in August against an opponent yet to be determined. Paul has publicly mentioned names like former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Tommy Fury, the younger brother of heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury. Paul was scheduled to fight Tommy Fury last December before Fury withdrew because of a broken rib and a chest infection.
“This is just the start with what I’m gonna accomplish,” Paul said. “I’ll be in boxing the rest of my life, so people gotta get used to me. I’ll be a promoter probably for way longer than I’ll be a boxer. This is what it’s about. I wanted to bring my fanbase that was a digital fanbase. … Now there’s 60 million of them who are boxing fans.
“Boxing helped change me. I owe everything to boxing. And I just want to continue to make it a better place.”
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