It's Round 2 of the battle of the YouTube stars Saturday night, when KSI and Logan Paul will step inside a ring at Staples Center in Los Angeles for a six-round boxing match.
KSI (real name Olajide Olatunji), a 26-year-old from London, became popular on YouTube for his video game commentary and comedy skits. He now has a budding musical career. Logan Paul, 24 is a vlogger, actor and podcaster based in Los Angeles. Both have large followings and have courted controversy with their actions and comments in the past.
The first bout—which took place in Manchester, England—ended in a majority draw, with KSI getting one scorecard in his favor. This time around, it's Paul who will enjoy the home-soil advantage in Southern California.
Boxing fans turned off by the idea of two novices getting all this attention for a fight still have a reason to tune in. The undercard features the undefeated Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) making his U.S. debut. He will defend his WBO super middleweight world title against Marcelo Esteban Coceres (28-0-1, 15 KOs). Also on the card is 20-year-old rising star Devin Haney (23-0, 15 KOs), who will put his WBC lightweight world title on the line against Alfredo Santiago.
KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 Fight Info
When: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. ET (main card)
Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles
TV: Sky Sports (UK)
Live stream: DAZN (US)
Odds: Logan Paul -200 (bet $200 to win $100), KSI +160 (bet $100 to win $160)
Odds are according to Oddschecker and updates as of Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 a.m. ET.
Eddie Hearn, director of Matchroom Sports, promotes some of the top boxers in the world, including Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk and Saunders, to name just a few. Hearn is now backing this amateur affair, which may be puzzling to some, but it's hard to argue with the numbers. KSI and Paul have incredible followings, as CNN.com's Ben Morse noted:
"Last month, KSI took to the stage to a huge ovation from the 3,000-strong crowd for a second pre-fight media conference in London. Paul followed shortly after -- dressed like a classic movie villain with a pencil mustache and flat black cap -- accompanies by deafening boos.
"More than 8.5 million people tuned in to Youtube to watch the two men trade barbs in London. Three weeks earlier, nine million people had watched their first press conference in Los Angeles."
The crowd that tunes in for the match will certainly skew younger than the average boxing audience, owing to the source of fame of the combatants. DAZN might be able to snag a few extra subscribers it wouldn't normally have a chance of reaching, while Sky Sports Box Office and Hearn can try to introduce a more diverse audience to the sweet science in the UK.
If this novelty fight doesn't help to grow the sport, it at least might help gym owners, as boxing is having a moment as an effective, social-media friendly workout.
Paul and KSI will no doubt play to the masses again in this rematch. Both did plenty of shameless taunting the first time around, ratcheting up the circus-like atmosphere that had developed around the bout.
KSI is quick and agile, with a much smaller frame than his opponent. Paul kind of lumbers around the ring, but he's clearly very strong. A few of his punches in the first fight looked like they might stun KSI, but the British entertainer's chin held up to the blows. Paul ran out of gas quickly, allowing KSI to turn the tide in the match.
If the American has better conditioning this time around, it could be a dangerous fight for KSI, who started the feud by calling out Paul after his amateur win over fellow YouTuber Joe Weller in February 2018.
The bad blood is simply good business for Paul and KSI as they expand their kitchen-sink entertainment careers. Boxing happens to carry a much bigger health risk than their usual fare, but they don't have to stay in the fight game to keep up the hype. KSI has already floated the idea of a turn to pro wrestling, which would be a natural turn for both him and Paul.