While many may pour scorn on a matchup between two amateurs, more than 800,000 streamed the fight, billed as the “biggest event in internet history”, at its peak.
At least a half a million more watched on illegal streams, despite attempts of the organisers to quash them.
The first YouTube boxing match was held in February at London’s Copper Box Arena. Tonight’s venue was bigger, but there was still a question mark over the match: would people pay good money to watch subpar boxing?
They did. If anyone was in any doubt about YouTube’s place in society after 1.8 million watched February’s bout for free, perhaps they’ll pay attention now viewers have spent more than $8m – plus ticket and merchandise sales – on small-screen superstars.
The fight started out with Logan dominant, making his size and reach advantage clear. At one point, it seemed as though his opponent wasn’t going to be able to handle his heavy punches for long, but KSI came back with his own flurry of punches.
In the second round KSI, real name Olajide Olatunji, was able to make his speed and experience count, landing punches fast and often on his opponent.
The most significant of blows from KSI came after the bell rang to close out the second – a cheap shot, one that caused Logan's brother – fellow YouTube star Jake Paul – and entourage to rush into the ring and almost start a brawl, but the incident was shut down within seconds.
A perhaps unsurprising factor throughout the match was Logan’s swagger and confidence, often putting his arms down by his side, showboating and talking to his opponent, taunting him.
It didn’t matter. KSI was unfazed, ensuring that he stuck to his game plan.
With the crowd behind him, and despite being on the back foot, KSI dominated the third round, landing heavier blows than he had at any point previously – a mark of his fitness and perhaps in-ring experience to get stronger and stronger as the bout continued.
The crowd began to notice that not only was the FIFA YouTuber-turned-rapper-turned-boxer growing stronger and fitter, but Logan was getting increasingly tired as the event wore on.
In the end, KSI was awarded a 58-57 victory from one judge, but the other two scored it as 57-57, meaning the British fighter keeps the YouTube Boxing Championship Belt that he won in February when he defeated Joe Weller.
“I guess we have to have a rematch,” KSI said after fellow YouTuber True Geordie explained to him what a majority draw actually meant.
“The rematch is going to be f***ing crazy,” Logan responded.
Is it possible to finally take YouTube stars seriously? With hundreds of thousands watching online, it's hard not to take notice.
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