Is the YouTube Boxing match good coverage for the sport? Or does it taint its integrity?
For: Olly Allen
In August 2018, the white-collar boxing match between YouTubers Olajide Olatunji (KSI) and Logan Paul received 1.05 million pay-per-views, making it the largest non-professional boxing match of all time.
Only three other fights, two of which included Anthony Joshua, recorded a higher audience in the whole of 2018.
That viewership figure alone should show why KSI vs Logan Paul is good for boxing.
A large section of people tuning into the fight will be YouTube fans as opposed to boxing fans, meaning a whole new generation may become interested in the sport.
This could be learning to box themselves or simply tuning in for future fights that don’t involve YouTubers.
As Eddie Hearn said when discussing the original fight: “What I saw was a phenomenon; a sold-out arena, over 1 million PPV buys but more importantly an energy of a new audience to the sport of boxing.”
The involvement of Hearn’s promotion company Matchroom Boxing as well as Sky Sports in this second fight adds further legitimacy to the bout.
With Hearn’s charisma and the YouTubers’ natural ability to entertain, there’s no doubt that it will be one hell of a spectacle at the Staples Center.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that KSI and Logan Paul are taking the fight extremely seriously. They have gruelling and intense training schedules similar to that of elite athletes.
While no one is suggesting they are better fighters than Billy Joe Saunders on the undercard, they’re certainly in as good shape.
In turning professional with ten ounce gloves and no head guards, they’re giving the sport the respect it deserves.
Against: George Willoughby
You know that guy who was screaming at Fifa pack openings and that other American guy on YouTube, well yeah, these two are headlining a Matchroom Boxing event on November 9.
This is the second installment between the two online giants with their first bout ending in a controversial majority draw.
Now, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing have taken over the spectacle meaning KSI and Logan Paul will be facing off in a professional fight.
My problem is not that these two want to become boxers, that is absolutely fine, it is more so the damage it does to the credibility of an already tainted sport.
It reaffirms the notion that boxing is driven exclusively by money. Whilst KSI and Logan Paul may have improved their boxing ability, they are still at amateur standard and should not be headlining professional cards.
They very well might be training like this is a title fight, but it is for a YouTube belt.
A belt KSI himself decided to award himself after beating Joe Weller back in February of last year.
The undefeated Billy Joe Saunders (28-0-0) has had to sacrifice hours in the gym and hone the fine art of boxing.
Instead he is being overshadowed by two YouTubers who have never fought professionally.
Saunders has earnt the right to be the main event anywhere he chooses, yet here we are with the boxer defending his Super Middleweight title on the undercard.
It is quite simply obscene.
This event is supposedly all about bringing new fans to the sport of boxing, but all it does is tarnish boxing’s morality in a money-making stunt that will most certainly do more harm than good.