The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Dec. 14, 2021

Anthony "Pretty Boy" Taylor on Sparring With Jake Paul, Tommy Fury Fight & Trusting Your Gut

Anthony "Pretty Boy" Taylor on Sparring With Jake Paul, Tommy Fury Fight & Trusting Your Gut


Anthony “Pretty Boy” Taylor (@anthony_prettyboy) is a boxer, MMA fighter and entertainer. He joins Chris Van Vliet for an in-person interview recorded at Chris’ apartment in California, where Anthony talks about his hero Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and why he wants to be the next electrifying man in sports along with how WWE influenced his style as a heel in sports. They also discuss the boxing career of Jake and Logan Paul and how a social media exchange led to a training session with Jake and then a boxing match with Tommy Fury, the prediction for Jake’s next fight, the origin of the “Pretty Boy” name and more! 

 

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Are you more of a boxer or a fighter now?

“Overall Chris, I look at myself as an entertainer, because an entertainer does everything. He can sing, he can box, he can do MMA fights and stuff. I can do it all, that’s why when people ask me ‘Are you a fighter?’ I say ‘No I’m an entertainer.’ This is where I want to take my career, and part of my fighting career is entertainment.”

So much of the fight is now the leadup to it, it’s about how entertaining you can be.

“Right. And growing up watching WWE, you look at Triple H and you look at The Rock, and it’s ok to play the heel. Without the heel, there is no hero.”

You look at guys like Conor McGregor, Jake Paul and Logan Paul, what do they all have in common?

“They are playing the heel and playing the bad guy, so I’m like ok, let me play the heel. I’ve been playing a heel my whole career in MMA and boxing since I started off in the amateurs and stuff. What you can do is build your character, which is what you want to do with your character. You can take little things here and there and start to build it into your own personality.”

Are you worried that because you are playing a heel that people will think you’re an asshole in real life?

“Not really. I’ve been this consistent heel since the amateur days. So people have seen me be charismatic and loud. I walk loud, talk loud, wear loud and live loud.

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So you said you watched wrestling growing up. Who were your guys?

“Well The Rock was definitely the number one guy who made me go this is something that I want to do. I want to be the best and most electrifying guy there is part 2. Triple H was one of those guys that I used to hate, but without Triple H there is no Rock. I hated Triple H because he was so good [at being a heel]. Mike Tyson was definitely one of those guys that I looked up to as well.”

What was it about The Rock that drew you in?

“The swag and the charisma, it was me thinking that I want to be just like him when I am older. Now I have the opportunity to be just like him but better than him. [Chris mentions dropping The People’s Elbow after a Bellator fight]. Right, I am The Rock of MMA.”

Were you surprised at the reaction to that?

“I was. I didn’t expect so many people to see that, hundreds of millions of people have seen it. The Rock is ready to pass the baton, and I am here to take the baton, carry that torch and continue his legacy. There it is, I am going to continue The Rock’s legacy and make it my own.”

I was watching the trash talk for your fight against Tommy Fury. I laughed out loud when you said that he looked like Shrek’s better looking cousin. Did you come up with that beforehand?

“Man I was just there pumping all those shot right on the spot! Literally just on the spot.”

I think a lot of people thought you had a lot of balls in taking that fight. Tommy Fury was significantly bigger than you, what was the mindset going into that?

“When you look at Tommy Fury, it’s like he is the perfect looking boxer. They are supposed to look gorgeous, have a chiselled body and have the perfect package. Me, I’m there being the pretty boy and this is going to be an ugly fight. I knew where my capabilities of fighting were and I knew where his was. I knew he didn’t have the knockout power to knock me out and I knew I had the power to knock him out. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way, but I came, I saw and I conquered. In a way I won that fight, not as far as winning the boxing match, but I won in the sense that he was the bigger fighter who was supposed to knock me out in one round. I went four rounds with him, it was a unanimous decision that I should have knocked him out. I made him look mediocre, and I’m an MMA fighter, he’s a Fury.”

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Walk me through this. You are on a card with Jake Paul, that’s amazing in itself. But the fact that you were training with Jake Paul, how did you even get on his radar?

“Well I Tweeted it out. I’m on Twitter and I have my guy Donagh Corby, who was a news anchor on MMA Island. I wrote on Twitter to Jake Paul's trainer that Jake keeps ducking these fighters and he needs to come and fight me. BJ Flores, Jake’s trainer said ‘If you want to fight Jake, come to Miami and come and spar next Friday.’ So I book my ticket, I book my hotel, flew to Florida and I sparred with him. Jake walks up to me I’m like holy sh*t this guy is huge. I’m 5 foot 6 he is 6 foot 2. We spar in April and in June I’m getting ready for my next fight. I get a message from BJ Flores asking me to train in 6 weeks with Jake in Puerto Rico. I’m like ok, I go out there for 2 weeks. They took a liking to me and they warmed up to me.”

It makes sense because you are an MMA fighter, they wanted someone who could emulate Tyron Woodley.

“Absolutely. Then all of a sudden Jake is like ‘You heard of Tommy Fury?’ Of course I have. He then says ‘Well I want to give you the opportunity to fight Tommy Fury.’ I’m like woah, this just hit me hard! But let’s do it, let’s go!”

So you booked your flights and hotels. You bet on yourself, and look where it got you.

“Absolutely, and it could have gone two ways. Either I could have fought him, talked crap and left it at that. It would have got erased in the books after a couple of days. Or I could have gone out there and sparred with Jake Paul, built that relationship so there is a bridge between his team and our team. Let me get the opportunities and build on them. They say if you can’t beat them then join them. I don’t have the fanbase to be able to fight Jake, so let me join him. That’s what I did, I joined him and he has put me in a great position for the rest of my life. Without Jake, I don’t think that I would be here. Jake is a humble and sweet guy, he is very caring and supportive, a lot of people don’t know that about him.”

So you went from paying your way to get there to getting paid to train with Jake?

“Yeah and Jake has paid me more money to train with him than I have ever made in my entire career in MMA. I made about $40,000 in my whole career in MMA in 6 years, and I made more than that in 6 weeks with Jake.”

What’s interesting about both of the Paul brothers is that they have surrounded themselves with so many great people, they have been boxing for 3 years, that it’s almost like it feels like 9 years.

“Their dedication to the sport is unreal. A lot of people just see them as YouTubers, well who cares? You can be a YouTuber and be an actor, firefighter, NFL player, it doesn’t matter. If you set your goals, manifest it into mini goals and work on that, you can achieve your dreams. And Jake and Logan have achieved their dreams. When you think of boxing, you are going to hear Jake’s name in that conversation. It will be a top 10 name.”

So you’ve been in the ring with Tommy Fury, and now Jake is going to get into the ring with Tommy Fury. What do you think the outcome of that fight is going to be?

“It’s going to be just like the Anthony Joshua vs. Usyk fight. You look at Tommy and he is a big brute, 1 2 puncher. When you look at Usyk he is more the light on the feet and moving around, punch, move. You look at Jake Paul, he mimics Usyk in that way, he moves around and picks his shots. Tommy is a good boxer, but Jake is going to come out on top, 7th round TKO.”

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Doing my research before this interview, I can’t believe you started out as a male stripper!

“Yeah before I turned pro in MMA, I was doing my amateur circuit and I took the greyhound bus to Stockton, California. This girl who knew my coach said ‘Hey, if you need money, I got a job for you.’ So I started stripping for a couple of months. I had no shame in what I do. This was similar to Magic Mike, bachelorette parties. You just light it on fire, twirl it sound and it’s main event time!”

If we look ahead to 5 years from now, what are you going to be doing?

“I’ll probably be walking the red carpet with Michael B. Jordan, I want to be a household name. I want to be marketable, have my own clothing brand, just to be successful and have financial freedom.”

The next goal right now is the fight on December 18th. Does this have to be a win?

“Absolutely. This is a fight for my legacy. If I can’t win on pay-per-view then what’s the point? What’s the point of being entertaining if you keep losing? If The Rock keeps losing his matches, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Who gave you the name ‘Pretty Boy?’

“The girls [laughs]. Well at first when I fought in MMA I used to fight in these orange shorts, and the girls used to call me ‘The Orange Crush.’ So some of the girls say ‘Yeah The Orange Crush, he don’t like being hit, he’s a pretty boy.’ I’m like Pretty Boy, Ok I’ll borrow it.”

I’m all about the little wins. What have been some of your little wins between your last fight and leading up to this fight?

“My little wins are just connecting with people. Whether it is on social media, speaking with family, speaking with friends. Also I got another opportunity to fight on a Jake Paul card, that’s another win.”

I end every interview with gratitude. What are 3 things in your life that you are grateful for?

“Family, friends and God.”

Embedded image credits: Instagram