Youtube Fight Rivals Turn Professional for Rematch in Los Angeles
YouTube superstars JJ “KSI” Olatunji and Logan Paul will lock horns in another eagerly anticipated boxing bout at the Staples Center in LA on November 9. The duo fought as amateurs in Manchester last year and it ended in a controversial draw. Now both men have turned professional, so there will be no head guards when they tangle in front of a screaming crowd in California.
KSI is a British gamer become rapper whose YouTube channel boasts more than 20.4 million subscribers. He made his fight debut by taking on fellow streamer Joe Weller at London’s Copper Box Arena in February 2018, and 21 million people watched on as he secured a TKO victory.
Next up he took on Paul, another YouTube sensation, after the pair engaged in a long-running war of words. It was dubbed the biggest white-collar boxing match of all time. The fight smashed all records, as 60 million people tuned in worldwide and £150million was banked through YouTube pay-per-view sales, with each man taking home around $30 million to $40 million. A rematch was always on the cards, but they have stepped it up several notches by turning professional.
Matchroom Boxing Presents the Rematch
Leading promoter Eddie Hearn will present the fight and it will be shown live on DAZN. Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing organisation also represents star boxers like former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, OleksandrUsyk and Billy Joe Saunders.
Joshua is all for the fight. “What people have to realise is, you have to put all eyes on boxing for us all to thrive,” he said. “So KSI and Logan Paul have a bigger following than me and most of the heavyweights combined. If all those eyes are now going to watch me and watch my competitors and watch the sport of boxing, it’s going to rise. I’ll always say I’m for it, so good luck to both of them, I hope they take it seriously because they can earn some respect here.”
Yet the boxing world is divided over the fight. A number of fans say it an embarrassment, a joke and disrespectful to hardworking fighters to be on the undercard of inexperienced YouTubers.
New Eyeballs to Witness Boxing
Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum said he has no idea who they are, but said he takes no issue if people watch to watch them. Undefeated boxer Ryan Garcia said it will bring a new set of eyeballs to boxing and if just 10% stay boxing fans then that just benefits boxing tremendously.
The bout is sure to gain a great deal of attention and it will be fascinating to see who prevails. Following it will be huge, particularly among the gaming community that are accustomed to checking out Unikrn news and streaming the action while cheering on their follow gaming compadres. KSI has plenty of fans from his time as a FIFA and Grand Theft Auto star, while Paul also has almost 20 million YouTube subscribers of his own.
Dismantling a Repugnant Face
The 24-year-old lives in LA and he said is looking forward to the opportunity to dismantle KSI’s “repugnant face” in his home city. “Last fight, KSI couldn’t beat me with only three months of training under my belt,” said Paul. “For the past year, while JJ has been wasting his time trying to become a rapper, I’ve been training every single day.”
Fighting talk indeed. Paul may have 600,000 fewer YouTube subscribers than KSI, but he is two inches taller and weighted in a couple of pounds heavier for their last fight. Yet KSI is equally bullish about his chances of success.
““This time I won’t make it so close, especially now that it’s a pro fight, no head guards and 10oz gloves,” he said. “The time to end him is nearing. I can’t wait to see the memes of him slumped on the ground after I’ve repeatedly beaten the life out of him.”
It promises to be an entertaining spectacle and the trash talk should really ramp up in the weeks ahead. The Staples Center holds 21,000 fans and it is certain to be sold out. The venue recently witnessed a thrilling draw between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, but it is amazing for a fight between two novices to garner so much attention. It shows just how large the fan base is for these two men, and their showdown could spark a new trend for YouTube personalities cashing in by locking horns in the ring.
Hearn initially said he felt the fight between KSI and Paul in Manchester was embarrassing, but he quickly changed his tune when he saw how much money it made. He has promised a world championship bout on the undercard, and that could see WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders put his belt on the line. It could be the most viewed match of his career, which is a sign of just how popular these YouTube stars are.