- The YouTube personalities Logan Paul and KSI are set to face off in a boxing match in Los Angeles this weekend after their previous fight generated an estimated $11 million.
- It reportedly took 10 months to arrange the deal for the fight, and the two fighters have been emphatically hyping up the amount of training and hatred between them leading up to the rematch.
- The YouTubers are scheduled to face off in a 21,000-person arena, and the match promoter said each fighter could net seven figures. The setup demonstrates just how much the two are relying on fans, including their 40 million combined YouTube subscribers, to pay up to watch the event.
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If you didn’t already know the names and faces of Logan Paul and KSI, the massive publicity push in the past few months – whether the press-conference face-offs, the videos of intensive training sessions, or the film-quality hype trailers – could trick you into thinking there’s about to be a high-level championship bout happening this weekend.
But KSI and Paul are celebrities more than they are boxers, and the people paying to watch them fight are unlikely to be expecting a top-notch battle of athletic prowess. Instead, the two fighters bring with them their public histories of controversy, loyal fan bases, and a combined 40 million YouTube subscribers.
The two YouTubers are set to face off Saturday in a head-to-head boxing match that acts as a sequel to their first fight back in August 2018, which ended in a draw. The first match was a success in drawing crowds: 18,000 fans watched the fight on-site in an arena in the United Kingdom, and at least 800,000 people paid to livestream the event online. That boxing match generated $11 million in revenue, according to estimates from Business Insider.
The event known as KSI vs. Logan Paul II is already gearing up to be even bigger, however, if you listen to the hype. Both YouTubers have further fueled the flames: In a recent interview with Business Insider, Paul said his goal for the fight was to “f— KSI up.” In response, KSI seemed unperturbed and said he welcomed the challenge.
“Logan is just going to say whatever he wants to,” KSI told Business Insider. “He knows this is going to be his final hurrah.”
This war of words isn’t a new strategy for the two YouTubers, who have made their livings as controversial figures while maintaining droves of fans and celebrity status. KSI has a history of making sexist remarks, and he hurled insults at Paul’s girlfriend and family ahead of their first boxing match. Paul, on the other hand, was behind the widely criticized recording of a body in Japan’s “suicide forest” and made “distasteful and insensitive” comments regarding abortion and KSI’s sex life in a press conference last month.
- Michael Tran/Getty Images
But despite the sordid history, both YouTubers have furthered the sentiment that this time the boxing bout is a professional match. A deal for promoting and broadcasting the fight was reportedly in the works for 10 months, and it involves a notable boxing promoter, Matchroom Boxing. Everything about the event oozes the appearance of “professional,” from the fighters not wearing headgear – because they’re now considered state-licensed pro boxers – to the company showing the fight: DAZN, a streaming service for pro sports.
Nevertheless, those in the pro boxing business aren’t buying that the fight belongs in the big leagues. One boxing expert said on Twitter that both KSI and Paul “would lose to 16-year-old amateur boxers.”
Yet both KSI and Paul have separately expressed their interest to Business Insider in continuing their pursuits into pro boxing after Saturday’s face-off.
Last year’s match between KSI and Paul was streamed on YouTube, the very platform where the two personalities have found success. But the proliferation of illegal streams on Twitch and other social platforms attracted an estimated 1.2 million viewers who were able to watch the match free, costing millions of dollars in revenue. Moving the stream to DAZN is intended to avoid that “cost and piracy risk,” KSI’s manager previously told Business Insider.
A DAZN representative told Business Insider the service had taken additional measures meant to prevent the same abundance of pirated streams.
“We’ve ramped up anti-piracy measures and will leverage key social media partnerships along with the latest technologies to combat any issues,” DAZN told Business Insider in a statement.
Saturday’s boxing match will be held in Los Angeles’ Staples Center, an arena with the capacity to hold 21,000 people. The match promoter Eddie Hearn told TMZ he expected each fighter could earn seven figures from the match, which shows just how much the hype is expected to translate to actual revenue.
And with Justin Bieber indicating on Instagram that he’ll be tuning into the match, the hype may not have reached its fever pitch yet.