A Series of Unfortunate Events: Youtube Boxing

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On February 3, 2018, the Youtube stars KSI and Joe Weller officially came to blows in the first amateur boxing match ever to feature two Youtubers looking to settle a grudge. The fight was executed in front of 8,000 people live, with 1.6 million viewing from the comfort of their own homes with Youtube’s pay per view system. This event outperformed several major sporting events, including 2017’s Wimbledon (most popular tennis tournament), and the 2017 FA World Cup (soccer). This major performance has caused an unusually high concentration of criticism to be aimed at the fight. Actual boxing fans were outraged at the fighters’ clear lack of sporting credentials and basic skill in the sport, real boxers were considerably upset at the turnout in comparison to their own fights, and other Youtubers found themselves agitated by the ever-increasing heights that rising stars are willing to go to to score more viewers.


And soon it’s happening again.


After winning the bout against Joe Weller, KSI made a proclamation that he wanted to fight “any of the Pauls!” If you haven’t heard of the Pauls, they are a pair of brothers who rose to Youtube fame in an infamously quick amount of time. The brothers, Jake and Logan, are always looking to put on a show and inflate their egos with every chance they can. The two’s audience largely consists of children and teenagers. Logan was recently at the center of a very widespread controversy when he showed the dead body of a man who hanged himself in Japan’s Aokigahara. Logan proceeded to take down the video and make an apology video. However, users of the Internet the world over found Logan’s freedom to continue posting on Youtube, and the fact that his apology video was fully monetized (meaning he made hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on that “apology”), to be dissatisfactory. Paul returned 3 weeks after his controversy, claiming he’d “never been so humbled by a single event.” According to USA Today, Some still took issue with Paul’s behavior, such as fellow Youtuber Jimmy Wong, who tweeted to Paul “you’re just covering your ass.” His content since then is reflective of his content before the controversy, so think what you will.


The point is that the Paul’s are not overtly popular. So when KSI issued the challenge to the two brothers, they jumped at the opportunity to increase their publicity tenfold with diss tracks, face-offs, and “press conferences” (There isn’t actually any press…). The two traded countless insults leading up to the main event, with KSI going, subjectively speaking, a little too far at times; choosing to attack Logan’s family and girlfriend, rather than Logan himself. The anticipation to see these two beat the ever living crap out of each other on August 25. And fight they did.


The fight was met with a mix of harsh criticism and admiration by hardcore boxing fans and professional boxers, with the criticism aimed at the two’s apparent lack of actual skill in boxing, and the admiration directed at the incredible business strategy of weaponizing their own drama as a way to sell tickets to an event. The drama of this whole endeavor continues, as the fight ended in a draw.

According to Independent, “Speaking after the decision, KSI – real name Olajide Olatunji – said “I think there’s only one thing to do. I think we have to have a rematch. Let’s do it. That was fun.” Paul agreed: “I think it’s what the people want. Let’s give them a mother***ing rematch…I feel like I won that fight, but it doesn’t matter. What happened, happened. The rematch is going to be f***ing crazy.””

The fight was streamed via Youtube’s pay per view format and is viewable right now for ten dollars, and the fight had approximately 860,000 viewers on Youtube. As if enough unfortunate events hadn’t already occurred leading up to and proceeding this fight, one more incredibly serious issue arose during the fight. According to Polygon, over 1.2 million people viewed the fight for free using illegal Twitch streams because of a failure to enforce or actively look out for copyrighted material in user-created content. Technically this resulted in about a $12,000,000 loss for all parties involved in the execution of this fight, however it’s unlikely that many people would’ve watched the fight if they had to pay to see it.


This has been an oversimplification of news that ultimately doesn’t matter that much. Thank you for tuning in, I’ve been Clayton Weyl, and I’ll see you next time.