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  • Ian Bailey

Jake Paul, Logan Paul, and many more to come...what's wrong with YouTubers boxing?

Youtubers, are they good for boxing? No, I don't think so. I’ll try to explain why below…

“Well, I suppose it brings more people to the sport and that’s a good thing.”

I seem to be hearing statements similar to this whenever the subject of Youtubers and bxing gets brought up in the gym.

I don’t agree. Youtubers fighting, generates ticket sales and PPV buys for Youtubers fighting. If you’re not a boxing fan, you won’t watch boxing, it’s as simple as that. However, if you’re a huge fan of a certain YouTuber, or other celebrity, and they fight…you’ll watch it. By staging these YouTube fights, promoters aren’t converting people to be fans of boxing, they’re just generating another income stream, by attracting existing fans of something else, to their product. It’s good for the promoters bank balance, and it attracts new people to their promotion…but not to the sport of boxing in general.

I’m not alone in my assessment of these kind of fights being bad for boxing, but what’s wrong with YouTubers, or other celebrities having boxing matches? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with anyone taking part in the sport of boxing. When KSI and Logan Paul had their first fight, it was billed as nothing more than a white collar boxing match. The fight was on a huge card of YouTuber vs YouTuber matches at the Manchester Arena. It drew a huge crowd, and had 2.25 million live views. When the first bell rung, two novice amateurs advanced to the middle of the ring, and the fight begun. They were famous people, and that, obviously, drew a massive crowd. Most world champions would’ve had their first amateur fight in a small leisure centre, a cheap hotel, or a smoky working men’s club. That was the only difference, the venue, and the number of people watching. Take these two out of the Manchester Arena and put them on any amateur show on that date, without telling anyone who they were, and they would have just looked like two novices, just about ready for their first fight. I tuned in to the first fight between these two, and enjoyed watching it. It was no Rigondeaux vs Donaire, but I didn’t care, I will watch any fight of any standard.

Fast forward to November 2018, the two fought again. This time as professionals. The two novices, who were barely ready by amateur standards, for their debut fights a year ago, applied for, and had been granted professional boxing licences in the US. They didn’t look like professionals, they hadn’t had the experience usually required to be granted a licence, but they were professionals. Obviously, money talks, and you can be what you want if you’re a wealthy YouTuber, right? “Professional”. It’s just a word, right? Yes it is, but it should mean something. If you are a professional footballer, you are very good. A pro golfer, tennis player, any other sport requires you to reach a very high standard to be a professional. In sport, any young person who dedicates themselves intends to become a professional. As they progress, they are made aware of the necessary route to this goal, the hard work, sacrifice, the rollercoaster of ups and downs they will ride on the way to attaining a supreme level of skill, which is never promised…Professional is just a word, but boxing should do something to protect it. It should be our equivalent of a black belt. Why were they given pro licences? That’s down to the athletic commissions in America, or if it’s over here, the BBBofC. Almost all boxing promoters prioritize money and care not for the integrity of the sport that sustains them, so we can’t expect them to take a stand. What about boxers and their managers? World champions Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney, amongst others, appeared on the undercard of KSI vs Logan Paul 2. Two world champions, appeared in supporting fights, on the undercard of two YouTubers. Should they have refused to do this? Presumably they were very well compensated for being beneath the two flailing novices on the bill…

In summary, I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with YouTubers or any other celebrities boxing. I feel it’s wrong however, for boxing promoters to put these guys on the same shows as world class boxers, or to allow these novices to be called “professional” athletes. If they are really professionals, and the sanctioning bodies involved declare them to be fit to box at a professional level, then let them box against genuine boxers of professional standard, and take the same route that genuine professional boxers take in their careers. Thanks for reading, and please leave your opinions below!

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1 Comment

David Edmunds
David Edmunds
Feb 04, 2022

great article Ian. Another career beckons as a "professional" sports writer! 👏👏👏

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