BOXING prospect Ashton Sylve juggled the classroom with the school of hard knocks after turning professional at just 16.
But after eight wins, all knockouts and two more years under his belt, the young American is emerging as one of the hottest prospects in the game.
But it was Paul who got one over on unbeaten boxing icon Mayweather, signing Sylve to his Most Valuable Promotions.
And his journey continues over the weekend with a prime time co-headliner spot against Braulio Rodriguez, 34, of the Dominican Republic on the YouTuber-turned boxerâs fight with Anderson Silva.
Paul told SunSport: âIâm excited, this is the first time heâs going to be on a big stage.
“The sky is the limit as heâs going to be the next star out of Most Valuable Promotions.â
If Paul is still learning on the job as a 5-0 novice, Sylve could feel like a young veteran, having had his first amateur bout at the age of eight.
He would go on to have over 120 contests in the unpaid ranks, becoming a 10x national champ, with two international honours to his name.
An Olympic dream could have also been realised – had the wait for the next Games not been so long.
ð¥ Jake Paul vs Anderson Silva: Ring walk time, live stream, TV channel, undercard for toughest test
Sylve said: âAfter all the experience I had fighting overseas at different tournaments, I started to feel that I was soon-to-be ready to turn pro.
âI wouldâve stayed in the amateurs if the Olympics were sooner, but I think it was 2024 by the time I could qualify for the Olympics.
âBut looking at my future, it was just too long to be waiting around in the amateurs, so thatâs why I decided to turn pro at 16.â
Like many before him, Sylve took his talents to Mexico after turning pro at 16.
But it was not facing fully grown men which gave him his biggest fight, rather finding a happy medium between boxing and academics.
Sylve said: I was just still in school. That was the only thing I had to balance.
âI had to balance and figure out my schedule, the training time, losing weight was always a part of it and having another energy to also do my school work.
âThat was the big difference but other than that, I actually prefer the professional side to the amateurs.â
After Sylve’s sixth fight, Paul and several others began to take notice of the promising super-featherweight.
He was due to feature on Paulâs undercard the night the social media sensation first beat ex-UFC champion Tyron Woodley, 40.
But when the event was moved to Ohio, Sylve, 17 at the time, was ruled out due to the commission’s age restrictions.
He said: âI had multiple offers, pretty much everyone was coming after me.
“We were still seeing what the best option was and who would be the best fit for me.
âI was supposed to fight on Jakeâs undercard I think in Texas but then they switched the venue to Ohio, so with the regulation and my age it just didnât pan out.
âSo I wasnât able to fight on his card but I think ever since then he had his eyes on me, even before that.â
Sylve’s dad would later receive a call from Paulâs manager and adviser Nakisa Bidarian, and soon after a deal was struck between the two.
Paul said: âI had actually seen Ashton years ago, sparring. This kid H20 kept popping up on YouTube, even in my recommended he would pop up.
âSo Iâve always known who he was, seen him hanging around mutual friends and once we started MVP, we want to help women and push them forward, which is why we signed Amanda Serrano.
âAnd then we wanted to help young prospects and he was the No1 young prospect that everyone was trying to sign.
âMayweather tried to sign him, and he had already a built in social media following at 18-years-old, perfect record, all KOs.
âIt just made sense to sign him.â
Sylve had his eyes on Wilfred Benitezâs record of youngest world champ of all time, which the Puerto Rican achieved at 17, but had moved on to other goals.
He said: âWhen I was 16 or 17, I wanted to be the youngest champion ever. But that didnât pan out. By the time I looked it up, my birthday was pretty much past it.
âBut Iâve always dreamed of being a three-weight world champion, so hopefully in the next year or two. Iâll be 19 or 20.â
For all of Sylve’s aspirations and plaudits from the loudest of mouths, none of it will mean anything unless he lets his fighting do the talking.
And he plans to continue doing so in the biggest fight of his career in Arizona, the kind of occasion he always envisioned.
Sylve said: âIâm grateful for the opportunity, this is kind of like a dream come true, something I always envisioned.
âIn my ninth fight being a co-main event in a pay-per-view, I donât think too many other people have done that.
âItâs something I think is incredible and itâs something Iâve always been reaching for.â
American rapper Bill Kapri, popularly known as Kodak Black, has been arrested for cocaine...
Nigerian rapper, Oladipupo Oladimeji, aka Oladips, who was recently reported dead by his management,...