Waking up at 3.30 am to watch a boxing match between two YouTubers with 2 years of boxing experience behind them is probably not the best idea in the world, you would argue, but, due to my complete and utter dedication to the Boar (obviously), this is what I did.
The build-up to this fight had been marked by the constant debate between ‘real’ boxing fans, and those who were fans of the two influencers, over whether the fight deserved the professional billing that it had been given. In an attempt to bring new fans and increased attention to the sport, Eddie Hearn, backed by his promotional company Matchroom Boxing, had taken up the fight as the headliner in an event that also included the up and coming boxers Billy-Joe Saunders and Devin Haney. It was this aspect of the fight that really irked boxing fans, as these were two proper professional fighters, fighting for world title belts, who had trained for their entire careers for these kinds of moments. And yet this training had only led them to be on the undercard to two YouTubers who are practically amateurs when it comes to the sport.
There were claims that there would be a ‘first round decapitation from Logan Paul’
These critics were, if anything, backed up by the farce that was the pre-fight press conferences, all three of which were marked by childish back and forths. There were claims that there would be a ‘first round decapitation from Logan Paul’, backed up the incessant, demented chanting of ‘lets go champ’ by his trainer, Shannon Briggs (the former heavyweight champion of the world). This succeeded in annoying the slightly more moderate KSI, something that led to pushing and shoving on the stage that was clearly for promotional purposes, to emphasise the two fighters’ ‘hatred’ for each other. This, in the eyes of the purist, constituted a disgrace to the sport.
However, despite all these seeming negatives to the fight, in the end, I believe that it was a resounding success. As the Saunders and Haney fights progressed, it was clear from the reaction of the crowd at the Staple Center in Los Angles what event they had come to see. This was backed up by how poor the Saunders and Haney fights were, with Saunders only managing to knock out an opponent that was supposedly vastly inferior in the last round, while Haney’s was a complete farce of reserved, boring boxing, with Haney eventually winning by decision.
Although the KSI-Logan fight had the same outcome, it was the fight of the evening, despite its amateur status. Although the technique was lacking, especially on KSI’s side, the passion of the two fighters was clear, with KSI’s aggression and hate for his opponent clear throughout. Logan Paul was far more reserved, clearly attempting to conserve his energy, something that had been the downfall in the first episode of this war between the two men.
Logan’s technique, on the whole, was clearly better
The only official knock-down of the fight came in round 4, with Logan landing a heavy uppercut, forcing KSI to the ground. However, this moment ultimately swung the fight in KSI’s favour, as, while KSI was on the ground, Logan landed another throw-away punch, an illegal move that led to him being deducted two points. This was, in the end, what decided the fight. Logan’s technique, on the whole, was clearly better, but KSI’s aggression helped him when it came to the judge’s scorecards, as he won by split decision (something that wouldn’t have happened had Logan had those two extra points).
The scenes of jubilation that followed the fight within the arena were immense, far outstripping anything that had gone on in the arena beforehand. It is this fact that explains why the fight, in my eyes, can ultimately be constituted as a success. Yes, the crowd were mainly there to see this fight in particular, but, as Eddie Hearn himself said, the reason for the tension and excitement in the arena was simply because it was the best fight of the evening.
It was the most watched boxing event of the year on both Dazn and Sky Sports Box Office
The two most significant undercards were complete farces, lacking any of the aggression, and passion of the fighting between two YouTubers, factors that should surely be championed in boxing above all else. The figures of those that payed to watch the fight were also outstanding- it was the most watched boxing event of the year on both Dazn and Sky Sports Box Office, attracting more viewers than even Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz, a fact which is surely a positive, as it will attract more viewers to the sport.
Ultimately, although the back-chat and press conferences before-hand could be considered as the opposite of what boxing should be, this fight was a spectacle, and has surely achieved its purpose- bringing more fans to the sport. The best man also won, leaving the potential for more fights like this in the future- KSI vs Tommy Fury anyone?