Influencers reviving boxing? The story so far
On 3rd August 2017, UK YouTubers Joe Weller and Theo Baker had an informal boxing fight for the vacant World YouTube Boxing Championship on a cold day in a random gym in England and thus began the butterfly effect.
Then came in KSI vs Joe Weller that really kicked off the whole boxing scene for influencers.
Supposed hostilities between KSI and British Youtuber, Joe Weller, began towards the end of 2017. Following public disagreements on Twitter and diss-tracks between the pair, they announced that they would host an amateur boxing match on 3 February 2018 at Copper Box Arena, London, to settle the feud.
KSI, a gamer guy trained HARD and came out on top winning the fight by technical knockout after 3 rounds.
Following the win, KSI called out US YouTubers, the Paul brothers
“If any YouTuber wants it, you can come to get it,” he said after his victory, “Jake Paul, Logan Paul — any of the Pauls — I don’t care.” (note for the editor- can remove the quote)
It was evident that the newest venue for “feuding” YouTube stars seeking to air their grievances — and drum up some serious publicity in the process — is the boxing ring.
KSI vs. Logan Paul was an amateur boxing match between the British YouTuber KSI and American YouTuber Logan Paul. The undercard consisted of a number of YouTubers, including a bout between the headliners' respective younger brothers, Deji Olatunji and Jake Paul The bout took place on 25 August 2018 in the Manchester Arena, Manchester, England, and was streamed on YouTube's pay-per-view platform, and resulted in a majority draw, with two judges scoring it 57–57 and the other 58–57 in favor of KSI.
The fight was promoted as "the biggest internet event in history" and "the biggest amateur boxing match in history". The rematch took place on 9 November 2019 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, this time as a professional boxing match.
The thought of two YouTubers fighting last summer initially triggered plenty of skepticism from boxing purists.
But not only did KSI and Logan Paul have an entertaining fight, but the bout was an overwhelming success on the business end of boxing as well.
Moving on to rising star Jake Paul, after the Deji fight he fought UK-based YouTuber Aneson Gib This marked Paul’s professional boxing debut, as Paul and Gib fought as the co-feature on the Demetrius Andrade-Luke Keeler championship card.
This one didn’t last nearly as long as Paul’s first fight, though. Sporting gold trunks, he took Gib out at 2:15 in the first, again via TKO.
For Paul’s third fight , he squared off with former NBA player Nate Robinson, the Dunk Contest legend, on the undercard of the much-hyped fight between two legends: Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. At 1:24 in the second round, Paul completely decimated Robinson, sending him falling onto his face, putting him to sleep, and generating one of the most memorable boxing moments in years. It inspired a flurry of memes. While this went on, his brother Logan Paul earned himself a fight against Floyd Mayweather, why would Mayweather do this? Money. The fight was a major payday for both the celebrities especially with the YouTube superstar surviving against the legendary boxer for the entire 8 rounds. Reports suggest that Paul's upfront fee was set at $250,000 with a further 105 percent promised from whatever is made from the subsequent pay-per-view TV sales. The PPV subscription was set at $49.99, and according to Floyd, he made $100 million from the celebrity boxing match against Paul alone.
This match was practically grappling practice for Logan Paul. He didn’t seem like a man who wanted to win or even box, but someone who just wanted the fight to be over. It wasn’t about boxing or competition to him; it was money and clout. This was massive for a YouTuber, to go up against such a renowned boxer. But it was all about the clout and money and not the sport.
This is becoming the new wave of boxing, slowly but surely. We saw it with the Jake Paul vs Ben Askren fight as well: a YouTube influencer knocks out a retired professional MMA fighter and reaps the rewards of both clout and money. Next came the big Youtubers vs TikTokers event.
YouTubers vs. TikTokers was a 2021 white-collar amateur boxing event, booked by Social Gloves, which featured YouTubers and TikTokers. The main event was between American YouTuber Austin McBroom and American TikToker Bryce Hall. The undercard included a bout between YouTuber AnEsonGib and TikToker Tayler Holder. It was held on June 12, 2021, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
A lot of boxers and some commentators were not paid and lawsuits have ensued after it, but it generated mass publicity. In recent news, jake paul fought UFC star, Tyron Woodley, this weekend and the fight ended in a majority draw.
Over the past few years combat sports fans have been dismayed to see the sport of boxing begin to stagnate, especially in comparison to the huge rise in the success that MMA has experienced. This has been steadily changing. YouTubers who journey into boxing often upload videos of their preparation, building up hype for an upcoming fight. Influencers with a heavy Twitter presence can create a huge stir just by sending off one tweet. The scope with which boxing's presence can be felt has widened exponentially, with the aid of social media influencers. They bring in a whole new fan base! There are multiple fighters who are against the whole influencer boxing, WBA super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez has hit out at the recent trend of YouTuber fights and described it as a “lack of respect” to the sport.
Do the cons outweigh the pros? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Writer - Dyumna Madan
Editor - Priyam Kusundal
Graphic Designer - Hafsa