YouTubers take on each other in big boxing match
It’s a bit of a deja-vu moment.
Another fight between vlogger Logan Paul and gamer, vlogger and rapper Olajide “KSI” Olatunji ended without quite settling things.
Inside Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Saturday night, British sensation KSI was declared the winner by a split decision that Paul made clear he wasn’t happy about.
That’s because of a controversial knockdown that Paul said cost him the match.
In the fourth round of the game, “Paul landed a big uppercut, sending KSI crashing down to the canvas,” subscription-based sports service DAZN said. “However the ref ruled that it was a punch behind the head and a push that made KSI taste the mat. It was ruled a knockdown and a two-point penalty for Paul.”
“I think if you do the math, the two points that I got taken away from me was the reason I lost tonight,” Paul said.
So, will there be a third fight?
Paul says he’d love another round. As for KSI, he says: “It’s done fam.”
OK but why are they fighting?
The two controversial figures first faced off in Manchester in what was later called “The Biggest Internet Event in History.” That ended in a draw which Paul later said left a “nasty taste” in his mouth because “I’m so competitive.”
This match was supposed to once and for all settle any personal and professional beef, DAZN said.
But critics say it’s all merely a money-grab.
Fans of the bout are more upbeat. Followers of Paul and KSI are young, supporters say, and their fights bring boxing to a whole new audience.
After all, the two have massive fan bases, with a combined 40 million subscribers on YouTube.
Paul is a Vine star turned YouTube sensation who came under fire in 2017 for posting a video showing a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” and making jokes about it. KSI is another controversial YouTube figure. In 2015, women’s groups accused him of demeaning victims of sexual violence and spreading misogynistic views in his videos — and asked the platform to remove them.
Johnny Nelson, former WBO cruiserweight champion, hosted a face-off between the two before their first fight and said at the time he didn’t know either of them.
But then he saw how many youngsters were in the crowd. “I had kids coming up to me in the street saying: ‘Oh my God, you met KSI! Oh my God, you met Logan!'” he said.
“It’s a way of introducing our world to this new world. And if it inspires 1% or 10% of the fans who have come from watching KSI or Logan, then our sport wins.”
What happened in the first fight?
The first fight was held in Manchester, England, in 2018. Fans paid $10 to watch the fight on YouTube.
The match ended in a draw, but it was watched by as many as 800,000 people, with 1.2 million more watching on pirated streams, according to numbers posted by MMA announcer Bruce Buffer.
Those numbers are in addition to the reported 21,000 who actually showed up at Manchester Arena. That’s a whole lot of people watching boxing who may not have paid attention before.
Was it good for the reputation of boxing?
So undoubtedly a big draw, but it will surely be the only time a six-round fight between two complete novices, in their first sanctioned professional contest, the first fight was under amateur rules with head guards, will top the bill at a major televised promotion.
Unless, of course, KSI can be persuaded to change his mind about a third bout between the pair.
Two world champions, WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney and WBO super-middleweight title holder Billy Joe Saunders, had to settle for a place on the undercard, winning their bouts.
With respect to Haney and Saunders, both fine boxers, it is unlikely their combined pulling power would have led to what promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports predicted to be the biggest Pay Per View boxing event of the year.
And despite the reservations of some boxing purists, the bout has found support from world heavyweight champions such as Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz.
“I think it’s very good for the sport of boxing,” said Fury, who is set to fight Wilder in an eagerly-awaited rematch next February.
Britain’s Amir Khan, a former light-welterweight world champion, also supported the bout. “2 novice fighters put on a good fight tonight. Well done to my friend @KSIOlajidebt and unlucky @LoganPaul. A 3rd fight wouldn’t surprise me,” he tweeted on social media.
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed to this report.