Who is Jake Paul’s next opponent? Meet Ryan Bourland

It was announced on Tuesday that Jake Paul’s next opponent will be the boxing ‘Rhino’ Ryan Bourland of Vallejo, California. 

Bourland earned his stripes in Northern California as a tireless worker and a gym rat. Bourland transformed his body over the years through training all the way up to winning a regional title in 2018.

Bourland had a limited amateur career as the perils of the rough neighborhood of Vallejo seemingly side-tracked him. He turned pro in 2013 a little over the light-heavyweight limit. 

Bourland was a regional attraction. He made new merchandise for each show, with a Rhino on each piece of gear. Boxing legend Herb Stone managed him at one point, and he fought on Don Chargin shows. In his eighth bout, he was knocked out in the first round in his first major step-up fight against Israel Duffus. The bout was also taken on short notice and it felt like it might have been a bridge for him to the next level. 

Bourland recovered by going on a seven-fight winning streak, fighting three times in 2016 and 2017 and winning a regional belt in the process. 

Bourland was working with decorated amateur boxer Mario L’esperance and California football royalty in Mike Neal Jr., of Real Neal Sports, who was his conditioning coach. Bourland might have been a local boxer, but he invested in himself as if he was a signed fighter. 

In 2019, however, Bourland shockingly called it quits. He was building momentum and avenged a recent majority decision loss to Jose Hernandez at a Paco Damian-promoted card at Cache Creek Casino in 2018., but he closed out the year by defeating Hernandez via a majority decision. 

Bourland moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, where he started working in the oil fields. Years of grinding on the local scene had created lasting memories, but Bourland wanted a financial future, and the oil industry could provide that. 

In 2022, Bourland returned to the ring much heavier and boxed at 185lbs, stopping Santario Martin, a hand-picked opponent in five rounds. 

So where does Bourland stack up against prior Jake Paul opponents? 

He is formidable. Bourland is a real fighter who has trained since he was an amateur. He had some setbacks, and also retired from boxing five years ago. That said, he is a tireless worker who has stayed in the gym, and he works a blue-collar job. 

Bourland had his most success at light-heavyweight. This bout will be his first time fighting above 187lbs, so he is undersized and has been inactive.

That said, he is still a stern test for Paul. 

Paul will be bigger, he will be more explosive, but this is the most decorated and accomplished boxer he has been in the ring with. Sure, you could poke holes in Bourland’s record, but it is as blue-collar as it gets and Bourland will be willing to fight for every minute of every round. 

This is also a way for Bourland to get paid for the years he didn’t make the money he probably should have. Bourland is taking a risk, but also getting the type of fight he always wanted and never could land in his prime.