The American social media personality was beaten over eight rounds in a split decision, with Fury outlasting Paul to secure victory.
An at-times low-quality encounter was disrupted by moments of contentious intervention from Panamanian official Afu, with a number of boxers questioning his decision-making during the fight.
Irish featherweight Michael Conlan was among them, tweeting that the referee was “clueless”, while former lightweight world champion George Kambosos used a clown emoji in his own mid-fight post about the officiating on social media.
The decision to take a point away from both fighters during the bout attracted much attention, particularly given a hotly-debated final result.
Former WBC heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder disagreed with the scoring of the judges, believing that Paul had done enough to get the win.
“I think Jake got that one,” Wilder told Fight Hub TV having had a ringside seat in Saudi Arabia.
“That referee, that was an immature point taken. I think Jake Paul needed that knockdown and when he did it evened it out.
This ref is clueless
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) February 26, 2023
“I think he only gave it to Fury because of the point taken. It was an immature point, the referee is supposed to give him at least three warnings, he gave him no warnings, get out of here.”
Carl Froch, however, disagreed with Wilder, revealing that by his count the two judges that scored the fight Fury’s way had got their ruling spot on.
What the fuck is this ref doing????
— Rougarou (@RPrograis) February 26, 2023
The retired British boxer said to iFL TV: “I had the scorecard exactly the same as two of the judges - 76-73 [in favour of Tommy Fury].
“I thought the score was bang on, to be honest. The point deductions were a bit dubious, but the referee balanced it out by taking a point from both fighters.
Great ref lol 🤡🤦🏻♂️
— George "Ferocious" Kambosos Jr (@georgekambosos) February 26, 2023
“I thought the score was right, the right man won. Tommy Fury put in a decent performance for the level of where he is in his career.”
The Jake Paul/Tommy Fury referee is a legitimate disaster. I think he wants to be in the fight.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 26, 2023