By Craig Stewart
A thrilling but equally as scrappy fight ended in a surprising and controversial win for KSI in one of the biggest professional boxing debuts in history.
KSI beat Logan Paul in a split decision points victory inside the Staples Center, Los Angeles on Saturday, in front of a crowd exceeding 12,000 and a predicted 2.2 million worldwide pay-per-view audience.
KSI is Britain’s most popular YouTuber with more than 20.6 million subscribers, his real name, Olajide “JJ” Olatunji fought Logan Paul, an American video-content creator with around 20 million subscribers on YouTube.
The pair met in August last year in Manchester for the first bout competing at white-collar amateur level with the fight ending in a majority draw.
With neither satisfied to let that be the end of their dispute another fight was eventually organised after months of negotiations through Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn and his company Matchroom Boxing.
An Underdog Story
Logan ‘The Maverick’ Paul was the odds-on bookmaker’s favourite although the underdog KSI prevailed after six fast-paced 3-minute rounds.
‘The Nightmare’ KSI, weighed in over 6 pounds lighter than his opponent and stands 2 inches shorter.
Both fighters were extremely confident in the build up and KSI was overjoyed with the win.
“I beat him in America and so many people were saying there’s no way your going to beat him, you’re the underdog, there’s no way and I proved everyone wrong. I love proving people wrong, that’s just me. I said what I was going to do, and I did it.”
The main talking point surrounding the bout was a refereeing decision. Experienced professional boxing ref, Jack Reiss ruled that Logan Paul be deducted 2 points after hitting KSI as he fell to the floor although Reiss did not rule out the knockdown to Paul.
Jack Reiss termed the downward punch as a ‘felony.’ Two of the judges marked KSI as the winner of the bout with judge, Zachary Young marking Logan Paul the winner despite the deduction.
Reiss told SecondsOut’s Radio Rahim that he had warned both fighters before and during the fight, to avoid punches to the back of the head and the kidneys and explained why it was a 2-point deduction rather than a warning or 1-point penalty.
“There’s no such punch in boxing where you punch straight down and that was intentional and it had affect because it was a wounded fighter, and again to level the playing field I thought that would be best.”
Paul disagreed with the decision from Reiss and made his point in the post-fight press conference.
“I don’t feel like a two-point foul with no warning was warranted but I don’t know, I’m new to this sport. We’re going to contest the commission but to be honest I don’t think they’re going to budge.”
A New Audience
DAZN, a live and on demand sports streaming service, took the risk on a boxing card which threw up a lot of criticism in the world of professional boxing. A risk that appears to have paid-off with the monthly subscription service receiving a significant number of new customers.
The Executive Vice President of DAZN North America, Joseph Markowski stated in an emailed statement that they deemed the fight a ‘big success’.
The fight was also broadcasted on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK although for those who decided to tune-in, had to wait until after 4.30am GMT on Sunday for the main event to start.
Justin Bieber along with a host of celebrity A-listers attended the fight and the superstar wasn’t discreet on social media about who he was supporting in the lead up to the fight.
He was seen standing and shouting support for his friend, Logan Paul, from ringside. The musician’s hundreds of millions of social media followers were made fully aware of the fight with Bieber actively posting about it and this was sure to have generated even more interest in the fight.