YouTube boxing has grown into a genuine sporting spectacle, with the matches between Olajide ‘KSI’ Olatunji and Logan Paul in particular producing incredible pay-per-view (PPV) numbers.
Those two have faced off twice, and both events showcased the vast pull that YouTubers and content creators have, smashing some of the biggest PPV numbers in boxing set by the likes of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Now, Logan is exceeding all expectations, preparing for a fight many professional boxers can only dream of, as he’s set to take on Floyd Mayweather in an exhibition match on February 20, 2021. One YouTuber who has never won a boxing match against an undefeated legend.
Despite the odds being stacked against him, it is set to be the biggest YouTube boxing match ever and will be another unmissable spectacle. But what standard does the event have to live up to in order to become the best yet? Join us as we rank YouTube boxing matches in (a not very long) history from worst to best.
6. Jake Paul v AnEsonGib (January 30, 2020)
The fight between Jake Paul and UK YouTuber AnEsonGib was the worst YouTube boxing match so far. The hype generated was intense, and Gib had the whole of the UK behind him, but the younger Paul brother easily outclassed his opponent.
While expectations were high for Gib, who had talked a big talk in the lead-up, fans were left desperately disappointed when the fight was stopped in the first round.
5. Jake Paul v Nate Robinson (November 28, 2020)
While this fight didn’t last long — Paul won with a convincing KO in the second round to take home an eight-figure sum — it did show that YouTube boxing could be much bigger than just influencers going at it. Jake took on a legitimate athlete in former NBA player Nate Robinson and looked almost as comfortable as he had against AnEsonGib.
The event itself didn’t garner as much fanfare as his brother’s fights with KSI but it has helped bolster Jake’s fighting acumen, and could lead to bigger fights in the future. While beating an athlete is impressive, critics are beginning to question when Paul will step into the ring with a seasoned boxer. The intrigue in seeing him fight YouTubers or athletes from other disciplines is quickly wearing off.
4. Joe Weller v KSI (February 3, 2018)
KSI vs Joe Weller was the fight that gave the world a glimpse of what YouTube boxing could become. After a very small, behind-closed-doors boxing match with fellow UK YouTuber Theo Baker, British YouTuber Joe Weller’s next opponent was none other than KSI, one of the biggest names on the platform. The fight was the first proper YouTube boxing match with an audience in London’s Copper Box Arena.
While the hype in their home country was big for this event, it didn’t quite have the international appeal that later fights did. The fight itself wasn’t brilliant either, with Weller looking like a rabbit in the headlights throughout. He was unable to land any significant hits and was on the back foot the entire time.
That said, as the first of its kind, this was where it all began, and completely changed the influencer landscape, with KSI’s decisive win setting him up for some much bigger fights down the line.
3. Deji v Jake Paul (August 25, 2018)
Deji v Jake Paul looked like the biggest mismatch in boxing when it was first announced. KSI’s younger brother doesn’t possess the same physicality as his older sibling and many questioned whether he would take training seriously. He was going up against Jake Paul, a former high school wrestler who stood several inches taller than him.
That said, Deji did enough to prove himself in the ring, and looked fairly competent up against the younger Paul brother. Although he never really looked like winning it, this was definitely more of a fight than expected and the underdog earned the respect of many doubters. Paul fans will say that Jake’s win was inevitable, but the fight definitely wasn’t as one-sided as many assumed it would be.
2. KSI v Logan Paul (August 25, 2018)
Logan Paul vs KSI 1 was when YouTube boxing became the phenomenon it is today. While Joe Weller v KSI was big in its own right, and a great starting point to see what was possible, KSI and Logan locking horns was exactly what fans wanted to see.
The fight generated 1.3 million PPV buys (and an estimated 1.2 million illegal streams), which is more than the likes of Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin and Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury. It was an absolute spectacle in every sense of the word, and the tie given was the icing on the cake. Fans on either side debated why their man should have won, but the draw was the perfect set-up to a rematch that was even bigger than anybody could have anticipated.
1. KSI v Logan Paul 2 (November 9, 2019)
The only YouTube boxing match that could have possibly topped KSI vs Logan Paul 1 was the sequel. Held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, it was YouTube’s first professional boxing match, with neither fighter sporting headgear.
The thousands of top influencers and celebrities in attendance were treated to a dramatic fight that went the distance. The moment in which Michael Buffer announced the winner will remain etched in the memories of fans forever, as KSI fell to his knees upon hearing the words: “Hailing from the United Kingdom…”
This match highlighted everything that is glorious about the sport. Sure, these boxers lack technical ability, but their fights generate as much emotion as any big professional bout. The drama continued following the fight, too, with Logan appealing the result to the Boxing Commission, claiming the point penalties he received were unfair.
While boxing purists may sneer, YouTube boxing is helping to raise the profile of the sport. Indeed, earlier in 2021, Mike Tyson said that it was “the biggest help in the history of boxing.”
As for the Logan Paul v Floyd Mayweather fight, it’s hard to envision this going any way that isn’t a Mayweather win. The biggest question is how much of a fight Paul can put up. An internet celebrity with a 0-1-1 boxing record facing off against one of the greatest fighters to ever live… What could go wrong?