During 2019, we have watched some of the biggest names in boxing – such as Olesandr Usyk, Gennady Golovkin, Tyson Fury, Vasyl Lomachenko and many more – all step into the squared circle.
Despite these big names, it seems that there is one fight in particular which has got a lot of people talking…
On November 9th, live from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, YouTube sensations KSI and Logan Paul, will be facing off once again – this time as professional boxers.
It is also rumoured that the unique bill will also include Billy Joe Saunders, who will be defending his WBO Super Middleweight title, and Devin Haney who has been labelled the next Floyd Mayweather.
So why has this event got people talking?
In August 2018, KSI and Logan Paul met face to face for the first time in a boxing ring as part of a white-collar boxing match. The match managed to sell out 21,000 tickets at the Manchester Arena despite either fighter having much boxing experience.
The event went on to reach impressive numbers. According to TalkSport, the fight was watched by over 2.25 million viewers live, including over 1.05 million watching pay-per-view and 1.2 million watching illegal streams on Twitch.
The event also went on to generate over a million pay-per-view buys worldwide on YouTube and the KSI vs Logan Paul official website combined.
With that in mind, Matchroom Sport ’s managing director and arguably the biggest boxing promoter in current time, Eddie Hearn, has decided to take on the upcoming fight as the main promoter, seeing the event as a great opportunity to reach out to a new broader and much younger audience compared to a normal boxing show and try to convert those viewers into boxing fans.
Eddie Hearn has also teamed up once again with SkySports Box Office to help Broadcast the event. This means that the fight will be shown on the Pay-Per-View service for just under £10.00.
So what do people think about the fight?
Recently, Eddie Hearn spoke to BBC Sport and spoke about how the fight will impact the boxing match, suggesting “there will be a huge, new audience worldwide and it’s our job to make sure they take an interest in boxing – then they buy tickets and watch other fighters.” According to Hearn, the fight is full of benefits to the boxing world.
While it’s probably a given that the main promoter of the fight is going to back the event, what are other people in the industry saying?
BBC boxing pundit, Steve Bunce, apparently had reservations about the fight initially, however as we get closer to the fight he can now see it as a big opportunity for the sport.
He also went on to say “If 10% of their followers watch the fight, that’s four million new sets of eyes on the sport,” he said. “Even if we took just 1, that’s still an enormous number.”
I recently spoke with YouTube sensation AnEsonGib – who has over 1.92 million followers – about what his thoughts were regarding the much-anticipated event on the weekend.
AnEsonGib fought on the undercard for the first KSI VS Logan Paul fight. The YouTuber is also currently trying to arrange a boxing match with Logan’s younger brother, Jake Paul, another one of YouTube’s biggest names and a former Disney Channel star.
“For me, it’s exciting to watch because we get to see who’s the top entertainer, who’s learnt the most in training and who can back up the talk after months of going back and forth at each other. The UK scene is behind KSI and the whole of America is behind their man Logan Paul. I am excited to see what pans out for the winner and the loser after the night,” explained AnEsonGib.
I personally believe there are pros and cons to the fight. Firstly, I believe that it’s great to see so many young people showing interest in a sport which, in the past, has tended to be a more adult-based sport and hopefully this will help the sport grow as well as inspiring young people to become more active. I also believe that this event is great for the sport as YouTube is a huge platform and it will allow the sport to grow and reach an audience which hadn’t been reached before.
The one negative I have towards the fight is I feel that it’s unfair on professional boxers who put in hard work on a daily basis and dedicate their lives to the sport, as they will realistically not be rewarded in the same way as KSI and Logan Paul.
No matter what your view is on the event, when the bell rings and both fighters trade blows, millions of people from around the world will be watching history being made.
It’s interesting to think that if this event lives up to its hype, will we see the sport of boxing change overnight? And what impact is this going to have on the sports and broadcasting industries going forward? Let us know what you think!
Written by Ben Reynolds