JAKE PAUL has been captured ramping up his training as he prepares to fight Ben Askren.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer, with a 2-0 pro record, faces the retired UFC welterweight on April 17.
He has been training for his third professional bout in Miami with coach BJ Flores, a former cruiserweight contender.
Brazilian Raush Manfio, who is 11-3 in MMA, has been on hand in the internet star’s camp and sparred five rounds with Paul.
And he warned Askren, who hung up his gloves in 2019, that the social media sensation has ‘knockout power’.
Manfio told MMA Fighting: “They had a referee there, it was all very professional.
“That kid works hard. He has a whole team working with him, not a bunch of yes-men.
“He trains really hard and he’s big, so I had to be alert at all times. It wasn’t easy. We trained hard.
“I believe Ben Askren can take a punch, but Jake Paul has knockout power. “If Askren goes in there to trade hands, he’s going down. No doubt.
“He’s going down. [Paul] has a powerful right hand, and he’s getting smarter in the ring, not getting scared or stuff like that, things you learn with time.
“I’m a professional MMA fighter since 2011 and I get mature as time goes by, you understand the sport, but [Paul] has firepower and that’s crucial.”
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Paul, 24, embarked on a pro boxing career in 2020 and beat online rival ‘AnEsonGib’ and then ex-NBA point guard Nate Robinson.
Askren, 36, meanwhile retired after three UFC fights citing injuries, and last year underwent a hip replacement.
Despite having vastly more fighting experience in MMA, the American grappler was renowned for his wrestling style rather than his striking.
As a result, Manfio has backed Paul to remain unbeaten – as long as he does not tire in the fight.
He said: “In my opinion, what is Askren going to do? For him to win, only if he gets Jake Paul tired.
“But how is he going to get him tired if he doesn’t have heavy hands? How is he going to hurt him?
“What is he going to do? I can only see Jake Paul winning by knockout or points, Jake Paul is far superior. I can’t see one weapon [Askren] can use.
“If he was like a Dan Henderson type of fighter with a powerful overhand, that would be a different conversation.
“[Paul] has knockout power and cardio. Meanwhile, [Askren] might have a chin but doesn’t have firepower to drop him, so I don’t see how Askren wins this match.”