Highlight 4 | Issue | Premium | Preview | Nov 04 2019

YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul turn pro in the City of Angels

A weird sport gets weirder as YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul headline a boxing event at Staples Center, Los Angeles, writes Declan Taylor
boxing
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

WHILE Saturday’s (November 9) spectacle in Los Angeles may be overlooked by some as a genuine boxing event, there are fights of more traditional significance buried somewhere beneath the YouTubers.

Londoner Olajide William Olatunji, better known as KSI, and Ohio-born Logan Paul became famous and infamous via their work on the online platform. Videos including but not restricted to commentary on FIFA matches and footage of suicide victims has helped to make them two of the internet’s biggest icons. Between them they have 40 million subscribers and the 40 Days documentary produced to hype the fight had been viewed over 10 million times at the time of writing. “It’s a new world!” Promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted with glee.

But on the undercard is someone very much now part of British boxing’s old guard in Billy Joe Saunders. He went to the 2008 Olympics as a teenager and as a professional has won Southern Area, British, Commonwealth and European honours, as well world titles at two different weights. It has been suggested that a man of his calibre playing second fiddle to a couple of bloggers is a travesty. But Saunders, as it happens, is only too happy to piggyback an event which will be viewed by an entirely new crowd who will not only tune in online but will also pack out the Staples Center. He has made no secret of the fact it also represented his most lucrative option at the moment.