Rydell Booker discusses the rise of Jake Paul and gives his thoughts on the future of the heavyweight division.
Jake Paul has the ability to break into the top 10 of the world rankings, according to sparring partner Rydell Booker.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer took his professional record to 6-0 with a unanimous decision win over UFC legend Anderson Silva on October 29, and is already eyeing up his next fight in early 2023.
Booker, who is an active heavyweight with a 24-6 career record, stepped in as Paul’s sparring partner ahead of the Silva fight, and was impressed by what he saw.
“BJ Flores is a friend of mine and he’s Jake Paul’s trainer. He called me and I went down,” he explains. “I was sparring him [Paul], giving him pointers, and one thing led to another and he liked it.
“After working with Jake ahead of the Silva fight I may now be in line to become Jake’s in-house sparring partner. Not just getting Jake ready for a fight, but helping him all year round. Teaching him little tricks that coaches don’t teach, stuff you only learn from experience.
“Jake’s a very quick learner and he’s surprised a lot of boxers. When I sparred with him on a Tuesday, the things I did to him on Tuesday I could not do to him on Thursday. He’s a very quick learner, he works very hard and he’s passionate about it even though he doesn’t need money from boxing, he’s already wealthy. Jake’s a student of the game, a fast learner and he wants it – he’s got the grit.
“I’m quite sure he will break into the top 10 in the world. At least seven or eight, but he’s setting his own destination and he’s got the right team around him. With me now coming along, I can teach him the craftiness they don’t teach anymore from the 80s and 90s.”
With regards to his own division, Booker believes that former champion Anthony Joshua is making the wrong moves if he is to get back to the top as he prepares to train with Roy Jones Jr.
“Joshua is allegedly going to work with Roy Jones. I don’t see how that is going to work out,” says Booker. “I don’t think Roy Jones is a good trainer or teacher. He just had natural abilities other people did not have.
“It’s very rare that someone can teach boxing. I’m not saying I know everything, but I was taught by one of the best of all time, Emanuel Steward. His system worked for everyone: Lennox Lewis, Oscar De la Hoya, Tommy Hearns, and it worked for Tyson Fury, too. You see Sugar Hill with Tyson Fury and Ben Whitaker over there, putting the Kronk style in the UK fighters.
“The Kronk style would be beneficial for Joshua because he is big, long and strong. The method that Emanuel taught would work well for those types of builds and I know it would work well for Anthony Joshua.”
Booker is also keen to help Joshua out himself after the two found success training together previously.
“I talked to KD, Joshua’s assistant, and said ‘give me one chance to work with him’ – I want to help him out with some things,” Booker explains.
“When we were sparring over in camp he was getting frustrated that he got hit with a couple of uppercuts he should not have got hit with. His coach at the time, Rob McCracken, gave him an instruction, and then I hit him a couple more times – so, I told him, ‘Bro, you got to turn and put your shoulder here’.
“He was amazed that I was able to help him because he didn’t get hit with those punches anymore. I wish I had another chance to work with him and give him some pointers.”
Joshua’s most recent fight saw him fail to win his belts back in a rematch against WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, who dethroned AJ in September 2021.
Although WBC champ Tyson Fury is fighting Dereck Chisora next, an undisputed title fight against Usyk could happen in the near future, and Booker believes the Ukrainian would come out on top.
“Tyson’s a very good boxer. He is kind of a different freak of nature,” he says. “Fury may not believe in Usyk that much but Usyk’s IQ level is tremendously good.
“I would lean towards Usyk. I know he’s the smaller fighter and Fury’s going to use his weight and reach advantage, but Usyk can step up to another level that people don’t see. He can use lateral movement, in and out, make Tyson Fury move his legs more than he wants to. He can use angles, he can use Fury’s size against him and when Fury’s coming to him he can step around him.
“I know Usyk and it may be biased but I think Usyk will beat him. Styles makes fights, Usyk throws a lot of punches in bunches and he showed that he’s got a good strong chin, so it’d be a good fight.”