KSI’s Misfits Boxing: Is YouTube boxing good for the sport?

What does the future look like for boxing as YouTube events draw larger audiences?

Adam Ingoe
1st November 2023
Image: Twitter- @MisfitsBoxing
It was a night to remember: pro boxers vs YouTubers battled it out to settle their personal disputes after numerous interviews full of threats and pledges of utter destruction towards each other, almost resulting in physical altercations. The most notable moments of the night were Dillon Danis vs. Logan Paul, ultimately leading to Logan Paul winning all 6 rounds after an almost one-sided match. The fight served as a pre-match warm-up for viewers and fans to get into the spirit for the real fight of the night, the much-anticipated match; KSI vs. Tommy Fury.

Tommy Fury, the ex-Love Island star turned professional boxer with a renowned family name, was about to face the world-famous YouTuber, KSI. Fury aimed to solidify his name following his brother Tyson Fury’s immensely successful boxing career, while KSI aimed to defeat a long-awaited rival to establish his place in the boxing world and open up new opportunities for content creators in professional boxing. Although the match ended in Fury’s victory, one question remains: Is YouTube boxing beneficial for the sport in the long run?

It’s important to look at the one thing that makes sports, sports. The willingness to be top dog, the effort, training, and devotion which is driven by motive. Boxers and content creators have far different motives for winning. Which is, in retrospect, the decider for whether or not YouTube boxing has a future in the sport.

In comparison to pro boxers, YouTubers are video entertainment producers and have been a recent addition to the sport as a result of user demand. There remain questions about their motives, which may be to use the sport purely to increase publicity of their channels, views on their videos, etc. Their presence in boxing is orchestrated by viewer demand, mainly the youth which makes up a large portion of viewers of the sport, thus their presence in the sport is appealing to a huge audience. But is that enough to secure a future for YouTube boxing in the long term?

Boxers and content creators have far different motives for winning.

Such questions arise that we need to ask: Would this be the motive of a professional boxer? To cater to their channels and views? Or would a pro boxer’s motive be to strive to become the best at the sport, winning a huge number of awards, etc, and going down in history as one of the world's greats? It’s a dream for any professional boxer. When we contrast this motive with that of content creators, we can see an inherent clash.

Opinions of pundits and the media about the fight between KSI and T. Fury were generally negative, with some implying it was a mockery of the sport.

Alan Tyres, a journalist for the Telegraph stated how: “KSI and Tommy Fury are kidding themselves if they think that was real boxing”, insisting on the fact that the nature of the fight was amateurish, with Tyres describing KSI’s game plan as "stay as far away as possible, jump around a bit, leap in with a jab and then grab onto his opponent."

As Tyres tries to show, no sort of game plan is in play, and in his eyes, it's just a pure mockery of the sport. The same could be said about Danis vs Logan Paul, where Danis’s antics and cowardice made Logan Paul look like a born fighter when in actuality both fought rather amateurishly. The question that remains is whether this is an insult to the game. Many seem to think so, the press and professionals certainly do.

The lead-up fight, Logan Paul vs Dillion Danis

YouTube boxing to many is looked upon as amateur boxing, made for fundraisers, and charity matches, and seen as nothing truly professional. YouTubers thus do not have a future in the long term, as most fights are seen as rubbish and amateurish by professionals and the media. Content creators have other motives for these fights, as discussed above, which play a role in performance and respect for the sport, and the outlook of it as anything serious. Therefore, putting to rest slowly but surely, the future of YouTube boxing in the long term.

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