Two judges scored the bout 76-73 for Fury (9-0), while the third favored Paul (6-1), 75-74.
“In my first main event, 23 years old, I had the world on my shoulders, and I came through,” Fury said after the victory. “This, to me, is a world title fight. I trained so hard for this. This was my destiny.”
Paul said: “I’ve already won every single way in life. I made it farther than I ever thought I would, and beyond. This is a humbling experience. I’ll take it on the chin and come back.”
What happened in Paul vs Fury?
Both fighters had good moments in the first four rounds in front of a star-studded crowd in Saudi Arabia, but Fury landed more significant shots behind a consistent jab that allowed him to keep Paul at a distance.
Paul appeared to stun Fury with an accurate left hook early in the fifth round, but he also lost a point when the referee penalised him, apparently for pushing down on Fury’s head in a clinch. The referee then took a point from Fury in the sixth, apparently for excessive clinching.
Fury had a strong seventh round despite a cut near his left eye from a clash of heads, repeatedly tagging Paul with combinations.
But Paul abruptly reversed the momentum with a perfectly timed left that wobbled Fury in the eighth and final round. Fury put his left glove on the canvas to steady himself, but bounced up immediately.
Fury finished strong and claimed the decision.
How much was the prize money?
Paul made a guaranteed $3.2m (£2.7m), plus 65 per cent of the pay-per-view (PPV) money, giving him a potential purse of $8.6m (£7.2m) including sponsorship deals.
Fury received a $2m (£1.7m) purse and 35 per cent of the PPV takings, for a total of $4.5m (£3.8m).
He also made an additional $1m (£0.83m) for winning the fight.
How did the pair become rivals?
Paul and Fury were originally set to fight in December 2021, but Fury had to pull out after breaking a rib in training.
They were then scheduled to fight in the US last year, but Fury was stopped from boarding his plane from Heathrow to the US because his Esta – which allows people to travel to the US for short visits – was denied.
Rather than scrapping in the ring, the pair instead exchanged frequent insults on social media.
The rivalry kicked off when Paul claimed Fury’s partner, Molly Mae Hague, had DMd him on Instagram, saying: “Might be coming to America later this year and have always been a fan of your videos. Maybe you can show me around?!” The message was accompanied with a white heart emoji and a face licking its lips emoji. However, the screenshot was proven to be fake, as the white heart emoji had not been released at the time of the supposed message.
Paul recently took a jibe at Fury following the birth of his first child, commenting on Hague’s Instagram post announcing the birth: “Just in time to see your dad knocked out.”