BLOG POST BY: Rowan Byers
June 17, 2022

YouTuber Boxing Has Brought A New Lease Of Life To The Sport 

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the phenomenon whereby a minuscule, localised change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. In other words, if Joe Weller and Theo Baker hadn’t boxed each other for a YouTube video, we wouldn’t have seen Jake Paul knock the brakes off Tyron Woodley, or Floyd Mayweather dust off the cobwebs against Logan Paul.

Youtubers Jake And Logan Paul Boxing - Black And White Image Other Than Red And Blue Shorts.

Article Highlights:

  • How YouTube boxing began
  • KSI and Logan Paul bring YouTube boxing to the world stage
  • Creator boxing inspires celebrities to pick up the gloves
  • What’s next for YouTube boxing?

KSI Started YouTube Boxing 

The point of ignition for YouTube boxing and the future of squared circle combat started in 2018, when KSI and Joe Weller wrapped their hands for the first time (and only time in Joe Weller’s case).

The interest in the bout seemed insurmountable if you were a regular amongst either creator’s fanbases during 2017. It was apparent that there was real animosity between the two creators. Animosity led to blown fuses, and blown fuses led to an onstage scuffle in which KSI kneeled to the brute force of his adversary. However, it would be the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ that would emerge victorious from the pioneering YouTube boxing clash.

The KSI and Joe Weller fight attracted a peak audience of 1.6 million concurrent viewers, and despite its resounding success online, it failed to register in the eyes of mainstream boxing. But that would soon change.

At the end of the fight with Weller, KSI issued a war cry challenging the Paul brothers, Jake and Logan, to an intercontinental YouTube showdown.

The KSI vs. Logan Paul Saga; from YouTuber Boxing to the World Stage

Following Logan Paul’s acceptance of KSI’s daring callout, the two met in the ring for the first time in August 2018, at the Manchester Arena. 

Logan Paul And Ksi Boxing. Ksi Swinging A Puinch.

The first instalment of the KSI and Logan fable drew more than one million pay-per-views, and around 24 million views through fight replays across YouTube.

The figures following the bout sparked the interest of boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, who decided that the YouTube starlets should lose the headgear, and step into the ring once more as professionals to settle their disenchanting draw. Eddie Hearn has since made a u-turn on YouTuber Boxing, opting to remove his involvement as the space progresses.

With the help of Eddie, Matchroom and mainstream media, the second fight between KSI and Logan was scheduled for the 9th of November 2019, bringing YouTube boxing to one of the world’s most emphatic stages, the Staples Centre in Los Angeles (now named the Arena). 

The fight was crowned as the biggest internet and largest amateur boxing event in history. KSI walked away as the narrow victor, and while boxing aficionados, historians and fans of pure pugilism might raise their voices over the level at which either creator can fight, they certainly can’t deny the stage they set, and the interest they brought to an archaic sport.

The Most Well-Known YouTuber Boxers

#1 Jake Paul

Jake Paul started his boxing endeavour with a win over KSI’s younger brother, Deji. Since then he has gone on to knockout fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, former NBA star Nate Robinson and two retired UFC fighters in Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley

#2 KSI

KSI can be credited with starting the whole YouTuber boxing scene when he fought Joe Weller. The Brit has since gone on to fight Logan Paul on two occasions, earning a draw and a victory before hanging up the gloves. Now, he plans to return to the ring against Adam Saleh, but all roads point to a showdown with Jake Paul in the future.

YouTuber Boxing is built for KSI and Jake Paul to fight in the ring.

#3 Logan Paul

Jake’s older brother shared the limelight with KSI in Manchester and in Los Angeles and while he might have emerged as the loser, his third fight with Floyd Mayweather will certainly overshadow any remnants of disappointment whilst inside the ring.

#4 AnEsonGib

One of the most beloved members of the YouTube boxing community for his insatiable fighting style. He had one of the all-time great fights with Jay Swingler on the KSI vs Logan Paul 1 card, after winning his first bout by TKO. Gib went on to lose to Jake Paul, bounce back against TikToker Tayler Holder, and is tipped to face Austin McBroom.

How Jake Paul Became One of Boxing’s Hottest Prospects

Prospect may be the incorrect vernacular, profitable may be a more fitting manner to describe the younger Paul brother. While Jake lacks the boxing ability of true boxing prospects like Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, or Olympic silver medallist, Ben Whittaker, the social media phenomenon undoubtedly outsells 90 percent of the world’s fighters.

Jake Paul In Black And White. One Image Of Him Boxing, Overlayed By Another Of Him Holding A Boxing Belt.

Jake Paul changed the creator boxing scene by facing off against two former UFC fighters, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, which undoubtedly influenced the making of his brother Logan’s exhibition bout against Floyd Mayweather. Jake Paul bridged the gap between past, present and future, bringing his huge following – in excess of 60 million across his active channels – to a sport that rightly needed a breath of fresh air.

Boxing had been in years of decline, due to a number of factors, but one of the main issues was that the top fighters were able to avoid each other for so long, leaving fans of the sport in dismay. Take Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao for example – the pair fought when they were 38 and 35 respectively, way past their primes. Issues like this stem from the promotional outfits that manage fighters. In boxing, one loss is all it takes for a fighter to fall into the abyss, so managers and promoters want to keep their fighters relevant and winning, which comes at the expense of fighting against opponents that aren’t on the same level.

What creator boxing has done is open up a new dimension to the sport, and while it is unlikely that any creator will reach the level of a world champion (although, Viddal Riley could be that exception), they definitely know how to generate a real buzz. Their social media and content creation backgrounds mean they know how to sell an event and play to an audience – take the London press conference for KSI and Logan Paul II for example. The crowd came out for blood, and yet whilst being in a foreign territory, the back garden of the enemy, Logan was able to hold his own in the face of animosity.

What’s Next For YouTuber Boxing?

YouTuber boxing, as well as boxing across other platforms, has been building steadily over the past year with events like the Battle of the Platforms, which saw TikTok creators fight against YouTubers, and a handful of creators stepping into the ring.

YouTube Vs TikTok Boxing

Declared the ‘Battle of the Platforms’ this boxing event showcased TikTok creators fighting against YouTubers. Overall, team YouTube defeated team TikTok 5-1, with victories from Austin McBroom and AnEsonGib. The event struggled to generate the hype that previous YouTuber boxing events have created, perhaps due to the lack of big-name creators. In addition, it is also reported that the event lost around $10 million as fighters, investors and producers sought their payments.

The interest in creator boxing has influenced celebrity figures to consider making their ring debut, the latest being former Manchester United footballer, Patrice Evra, who is set to fight YouTuber, Adam Saleh this year.

Creator boxing still has a long way to go before it earns the respect of boxing historians, and to do that it will take a display of true craftsmanship, and perhaps will come in the form of professional boxers who take to social media to grow their online or influencer presence alongside their boxing abilities, much like Viddal Riley is currently doing. But as long as the top fighters in traditional boxing persist in avoiding the fights that the fans want, let’s keep the circus of creator boxing rolling.

To learn more about creator boxing check out our blog entry on the cease and desist order TikTok issued over the TikTok vs YouTube event.

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Written by: Rowan Byers

Insights Executive at The Goat Agency