It’s being billed as ‘the biggest fight in internet history’ – but the people involved aren’t boxers, they’re YouTube stars.
If you’ve heard people talk about Saturday’s fight between KSI and Logan Paul but you’re not sure what it’s all about, then we’ve got the answers…
The name Logan Paul may ring a bell – the American YouTuber caused outrage in January when he posted a video which showed the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.
Paul, who has more than 15 million subscribers, later posted an apology on Twitter, saying he had been “misguided by shock and awe”.
KSI – it stands for knowledge, strength, integrity and his real name is Olajide William Olatunji Jnr – built a YouTube following on gaming, football and prank videos.
He has more than 19 million subscribers and has amassed over four billion views since joining the platform in 2009.
How did the fight come about?
KSI is not entirely new to the boxing ring, having beaten fellow ‘creator’ Joe Weller, from Brighton, to win the inaugural YBC (YouTube Boxing Championship) title in February 2018.
There is a bit of a back story to that rivalry…
KSI (also known as ‘JJ’) was a founding member of a group called the “sidemen”, but when rumours of a feud between him and fellow originator Ethan Payne surfaced, some accused the pair of manufacturing the conflict in order to gain more subscribers and therefore more views.
One of the accusers, Weller, produced a ‘diss video’ which led KSI to challenge him to a boxing match at the Copper Box Arena in London.
JJ won by third-round technical knockout and called out Logan Paul during his victory speech.
The fight was watched live by around 1.6 million people, while the archive footage has over 20 million views and counting.
To put that into context, Floyd Mayweather against Conor McGregor in August 2017 had 6.7 million pay-per-view purchases. The 2018 FA Cup final had a peak audience of 8.7 million on BBC One.
So why are they doing it and who’s the favourite?
Money might have something to do with it.
If we are to believe the reports, KSI will retain 100% of the Manchester Arena ticket revenue on Saturday and a rematch has already been booked in for February 2019 in the US, where Paul will likewise retain the ticket revenue.
The British audiences are predictably backing the Londoner – so much so that Paul was booed off stage without answering a single question during their July media conference.
In fact, you will be hard pressed to find someone backing Logan Paul – apart from Logan Paul. He has apparently put $1m on himself to win.
Deji and Jake Paul – the pair’s respective younger brothers – will also face off on the undercard on Saturday night and boxing/wrestling fans will also be interested to know that the real Michael Buffer will be the ring announcer.
They’ve gone for it.
YouTuber Elliot Hackney told BBC Sportsworld he believes this fight could have major implications for YouTube as a potential sports broadcaster.
“It has grabbed everyone’s attention because it is such an unknown entity but it will probably be the biggest YouTube event in internet history. It’s also the first time they have ever done pay-per-view so it could lead to them doing more of that.”