The November match between two of the most popular YouTubers in the world, KSI and Logan Paul may have been one of the most-watched professional boxing events for two rookies.
This was not the first fight to happen between the two YouTubers. It was actually a rematch following up on a draw in their first fight which happened in August of 2018.
This all started a few years ago in England when a well known YouTuber known as Joe Weller had an amateur sparring match with a fellow friend and YouTuber known as Theo Baker. The match was only for entertainment and for their viewers on YouTube. Joe Weller came out victorious in the three-round amateur fight. Later on Weller went to post a promo picture on his Instagram after posting his YouTube video of the fight, claiming how he came out with a win. KSI posted a comment as a joke as the two YouTubers were friends at the time saying, “I’ll fight the winner.”
The two began to plan the fight, which seemed like it was going to be a friendly match for entertainment purposes until KSI asked Weller for 70% of the revenue from the event.
This was the first major YouTube boxing event. As expected, it was the first event to break Internet records as one of the most viewed amateur boxing events of all time. KSI would win this fight by technical knockout a minute and a half into the third round. Fans rushed the ring. During a post-bout interview still in the ring, KSI called out the very controversial YouTuber at the time, Logan Paul.
Logan Paul had been facing severe backlash on his YouTube channel for posting a video a month earlier on his trip to Japan, during which he went into a so-called “suicide forest” and recorded a dead body. This may have been the main reason KSI called out Logan Paul in the first place, because since leading up to this, they were friends having made a few videos featuring each other.
At first it seemed Paul thought the idea was a joke. Logan Paul has an athletic background having been a division state wrestling champion in high school. KSI said, “Jake Paul, Logan Paul, any of the Pauls, I don’t care. Bring it.” The Paul brothers made a few jokes about getting their father Greg Paul to fight him instead. A few weeks later Logan posted a video with a serious response to KSI.
Three weeks later Logan Paul announced that he would fight KSI in a boxing match. Both of the YouTubers’ fan bases were buzzing on social media about wanting to see this fight, so after a few months of videos back and forth to one another they agreed to certain terms that they would have an amateur boxing match in England in Manchester arena.
The first fight that had taken place between KSI and Joe Weller was streamed live on YouTube for free for anyone who wanted to watch, but because of the success from the previous fight, this would be a Pay Per View event. Much like previous fight, numerous other YouTubers fought on the undercard.
The fight ended in a surprise majority draw that shocked the YouTube community fanbase. Over 1.2 million people paid for the fight to stream it live and some were upset that there was no victor.
During the post-fight interviews, both fighters then and there agreed to have a rematch.
For months, rumours swirled about a possible rematch in February of 2019, but KSI announced in January that YouTubers were not ready for it, and also that KSI wanted to focus a bit more on music until scheduling a rematch. Logan Paul mocked KSI for dodging the rematch in a reply video.
Almost a year went by without a confirmed rematch date, when almost out of nowhere on September 3, both Logan Paul and KSI posted a promo picture on their Instagrams stating the fight details and the caption saying, “Pro fight, no Headguards, November 9, 2019 Staples Center, LA.” The rematch was finally going to happen, and with the sudden release the Internet went wild about it.
This was going to be a totally different style event, because of the last two fights’ successes with over 1.2 million online viewers, Eddie Hearn, the biggest professional boxing promoters of this time was promoting the rematch. Another big difference was the fight was going to be streamed live on DAZN and Sky Sports Boxing. While than the last two fights were amateur boxing matches, this fight was going to be a professional boxing match. This would also mean that the undercard would feature numerous pro fighters rather than YouTubers only.
The fight took place on November 9, 2019 in Staples Center, Los Angeles. This time around it seemed that Logan Paul would have the advantage as it was in his hometown. It was a six-round pro fight in the cruiserweight division, (meaning both fighters needed to clear their weight of under 200 lbs) using 10 ounce gloves and no headgear. Logan Paul entered the ring first wearing an American style red, white, and blue robe and shorts. Alongside him were his trainer, his brother Jake Paul and Justin Bieber. KSI entered the ring with a villainous sort of look wearing a red and black robe, shorts, and wearing a mask with his name on it. Now it was finally time to see the long awaited rematch to see who the better fighter was.
The first three rounds seemed to be in the favour of KSI as he showed more energy, throwing more heavy punches, while Logan Paul was more cautious, using his length and throwing more jabs to try to keep KSI on the outside. In the third round Paul seemed to have slipped twice on the canvas leading fans to think there was a knockdown but the referee called out to the judges stating it was a slip and did not count it as a knockdown.
The fourth round was the most exciting and controversial of the fight. Logan Paul landed a big uppercut to the jaw of KSI which sent him to the floor but on his way down, Paul wrapped his arm around KSI’s head and delivered two illegal blows to the back of it, which would lead to a two-point deduction from Paul. Against a seemingly weakened KSI, Paul was able to land more jabs in the fifth round with KSI trying to stay more careful.
The final round of the fight was frantic. The crowd were on their feet watching as both fighters were using all the last bits of their energy throwing heavy blows that they were hoping would get them that knockout victory. But neither of them were able to land the big punch.
The match ended after six rounds of battle with a split decision in KSI’s favour. Logan Paul later stated he wanted to contest the commission for the two point deduction without warning in the fourth round.
With the event’s success, YouTube boxing is likely to continue. Jake Paul wants to have his own event to fight the British YouTuber Anesongib and Eddie Hearn was keen on the idea of another event involving Jake Paul fighting another UK YouTuber.
While still in the ring after the fight, KSI suggest that Paul should fight in the UFC against former WWE star CM Punk, given Paul’s wrestling background.
KSI is not ruling out future fights. He’s not interested in another rematch with Logan Paul but might consider a fight against a new opponent.
Whatever happens next, YouTubers having found this a lucrative format are likely to keep manufacturing beefs and using them to promote real world competitions whether, boxing, UFC, or something else.
Image Credit: Wikimedia