Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has warned that YouTube boxing involving the likes of Jake Paul and KSI could kill “boxing” if more focus is put on it.
For the last couple of years, content creators have been stepping into the world of boxing to settle their scores. It started out with events being solely broadcast on YouTube, but it’s expanded far beyond that.
KSI, Jake Paul, and Logan Paul have had wildly successful mainstream pay-per-view events, with KSI launching the X Series alongside DAZN and Jake getting involved with both Showtime and Triller.
The events have been major successes, and plenty of fighters and pundits have praised the influencers for bringing new eyes to the sport – even if they have played down the quality of the fights. However, the events could have a more disastrous impact on the sport long term.
Eddie Hearn worries YouTube boxing could “kill” the sport
That’s according to Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, who promoted the first professional YouTube boxing event been KSI and Logan Paul. Though the Brit has been pretty positive in his comments about the events since, he does have some concerns as well.
“There’s boxing and there’s YouTube boxing… but we’ve got to be a little bit careful, it puts the pressure on boxing to deliver because if not, this stuff will take over and it will kill the sport long-term,” Hearn told the DAZN Boxing Show.
“We know the numbers it does, it does very well. So, if broadcasters start looking at this and go, ‘actually, maybe we’ll just do YouTube boxing’ well that would be a disaster for the sport.”
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Hearn noted that he made a fair chunk of change from being involved with the YouTube fights, but he wasn’t wholly “comfortable” with it due to the quality of the fights.
He’s wary about getting involved again, but there are plenty of promoters who are wanting to be involved. KSI’s close relationship with the Sauerland brothers is a prime example of that.
It remains to be seen just how much bigger the YouTube boxing events can get, and whether or not they will become the focus of outlets that have angled themselves more towards traditional boxing shows.