What exactly is YouTube boxing?
YouTube boxing refers to the phenomenon of popular YouTubers participating in professional or exhibition boxing matches. The match is usually between two high-profile YouTubers and celebrities. These events are usually criticized by boxing fans due to the fact that the involved personas have little to no prior boxing experience competing in the ring.
How it started
The term YouTube boxing has been on the rise for the last few years (since 2018, to be exact) and started when YouTuber sensation KSI fought the YouTuber Joe Waller for what to be a historic event for their fans. The event showcased the intersection of entertainment and sports, captivating millions of viewers and setting the stage for future bouts. But people around the boxing community considered it a joke and an unprofessional skilled match.
Here we will discuss the history, pros, and cons of the YouTube boxing phenomenon, review and argue about its bad and good consequences on the sport of boxing.
The big breakthrough
The real fight that started the phenomenon was Logan Paul Vs. KSI I (2018). The Logan Paul vs. KSI boxing match was driven by financial incentives, personal rivalry, and the desire to engage their fan bases. Drawing millions of viewers and generating significant revenue, this event brought a new dimension to the world of boxing. At the same time, it was highly criticized by professional boxers and fans alike for the integrity and the skills shown in it. Many professional boxers claimed that “They make the sport look bad” for their awkward skills in the ring. Although some claim that this kind of event is actually good for the sport, “Bringing new eyes to the sport” resulting in new fans to the sport.
This match has resulted in much success with over 1.3 million PPV buys (for comparison the Gennady “GGG” Golovkin vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez professional boxing match resulted the same PPV numbers). It has opened the door for future YouTubers and celebrity matches to come.
The most notable YouTube boxing bouts until now
- KSI vs. Joe Weller (2018): This was one of the first high-profile YouTube boxing matches that gained significant attention. KSI, a famous British YouTuber, faced off against fellow YouTuber Joe Weller. KSI won the fight by technical knockout.
- KSI vs. Logan Paul I (2018): This fight pitted KSI against American YouTuber Logan Paul. The event was highly anticipated and ended in a majority draw decision, setting the stage for a rematch. The fight has sold 1.3 million PPV buys, which started the phenomenon of YouTube boxing.
- KSI vs. Logan Paul II (2019): The rematch between KSI and Logan Paul took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This time, KSI won by split decision, solidifying their rivalry and concluding their boxing series. The fight has resulted in an enormous 2 million PPV buys, which had set a global record at the time for the YouTube boxing phenomenon. For comparison, the professional boxing match of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez (2013) sold almost the same, with 2.2 million PPV buys.
- Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson (2020): In an exhibition match held as an undercard for the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. event, Jake Paul faced former NBA player Nate Robinson. Jake Paul won by knockout in the second round.
- Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren (2021): Jake Paul took on former MMA fighter Ben Askren in a high-profile bout. Paul won the fight by knockout in the first round. The fight sold 60,000 PPV buys, further solidifying his reputation in the world of YouTube boxing.
- Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley I and II (2021): Jake Paul has faced former MMA fighter Tyron Woodley two times. In the first match, Jake Paul won via split decision, and the fight sold 500,000 PPV buys. The second fight was won by Jake Paul with a brutal knockout over Tyron Woodley, but this time the fight has sold less than the first time, with 200,000 PPV buys.
- Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva (2022): On October 29, 2022, Jake Paul faced former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. The fight ended up with Paul winning and resulting in overall 300,000 PPV buys.
- Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury (2023): Jake Paul stepped into the ring against professional boxer Tommy Fury on 26 February 2023. The fight was won by Tommy Fury via split decision. The fight sold over 800,000 PPVs buys.
The pros and cons of YouTube boxing on real professional boxing
- Increased Exposure: YouTube boxing has introduced the sport of boxing to a wider audience, including younger demographics who may not have been previously interested in the sport. This increased exposure has the potential to attract new fans and generate greater interest in boxing as a whole. Making the sport of boxing more popular and will have a positive effect overall on the sport.
- Professionalism: YouTube boxing will introduce how to determine a real professional boxer than a boxer that has been trained for a couple of months or years. It will expose it and make people seek to see real professional boxing fights, making it a good phenomenon for boxing.
- Dilution of Boxing Standards: Critics argue that YouTube boxing diminishes the integrity and standards of professional boxing. Many of the participants in these matches have little to no formal training or experience in boxing, which can lead to concerns about the quality of the fights and the potential for unskilled individuals to enter the ring. Overall making the sport of boxing look fake.
- Distraction from Traditional Boxing: YouTube boxing events, with their massive media coverage and attention, can overshadow significant professional boxing matches and dilute the focus on skilled boxers who have dedicated their lives to the sport. This diversion of attention might impact the visibility and recognition of true boxing talent.
But is YouTube boxing not considered professional boxing?
Beyond that lack of good boxing foundation and skills, It’s worth noting that while these events are often referred to as “professional boxing,” they may not strictly adhere to professional boxing rules or regulations. They can vary in format, including different glove sizes, round durations, and weight classes. Some matches are exhibition bouts with no official winners declared, while others have been sanctioned by professional boxing organizations.
YouTube boxing has become a lucrative business, with fighters earning significant paydays from ticket sales, pay-per-view revenue, and endorsement deals. Additionally, it has sparked a trend of online personalities and celebrities looking to enter the boxing ring as a means of entertainment and financial gain.
In conclusion, YouTube boxing has undeniably transformed the boxing landscape, bringing increased exposure, financial opportunities, and entertainment value to the sport. However, it also raises concerns about the integrity of professional boxing, safety issues, and the potential overshadowing of true boxing talent. Striking a balance between the excitement of YouTube boxing and the promotion and recognition of professional boxing is crucial to ensure the long-term growth and success of the sport.