When YouTube was founded in 2005, no one would have quite imagined the impact it would go on to have on present-day society. The past 5 years have even seen YouTube infiltrate the sporting world, but has this been detrimental to the traditions and ethics of professional sport?
The journey to becoming a professional athlete up until this point has remained unaltered: work hard in your field, and if you’re good and fortunate enough, you can make it to the top. But it seems now there is a new way to become the Main Event at the O2 or to score on the hallowed Wembley turf.
This weekend’s Mayweather vs Paul fight will be the second time in three months that one of YouTube’s Paul brothers headline a box office fight. But with no professional boxing record, questions could be asked over how fair it is that the likes of Logan Paul manage to secure bouts against one of Boxing’s greats.
To reach the heights of a career in Boxing, are young athletes now forced to enter the world of entertainment?
It is estimated that the original KSI vs Paul fight generated around $11 million. These are figures that any aspiring professional could only dream of reaching
YouTube’s debut in boxing occurred in 2018 when British creators Joe Weller and Olajide Olatunji, known as KSI, faced off in an amateur clash that amassed 21 million views in a 24-hour period. Since then, renowned promoter Eddie Hearn has entered the fray and pushed ‘YouTube Boxing’ events to new heights. Watford-born KSI faced off against American YouTuber Logan Paul in two successive fights. It is estimated that the original KSI vs Paul fight generated around $11 million. These are figures that any aspiring professional could only dream of reaching.
Amid the initial Mayweather vs Logan Paul fight announcement, back in December 2020, many fans took to social media to express their concerns. Former NCAA Running Back and avid boxing fan Giavanni Ruffin said the event is:‘a joke and a disrespect to the craft of people that really put [their] all into the sport of boxing’.
Many, however, have come to the defence of this event, and others like it. Entertainment company Fanmio founder Solomon Engel believes ‘We’re not harming the sport, we’re growing it, bringing a different competitive side to it, and making the sport more interesting’. Yet, given the fact Engel’s company is set to make millions from this weekend’s main event, his support for YouTube boxing is highly expected.
Later this month will see a ‘Battle of the Platforms’ when some of the biggest creators on YouTube face their TikTok counterparts
Mike Tyson, on the other hand, is a perhaps more surprising admirer of the endeavours of the YouTube stars. He argued that ‘The UFC was kicking our butt’ and that YouTube has saved the sport from inevitable death.
Even if this is just a strange phase in the development of the sport in the modern age, it shows no sign of slowing down. Later this month will see a ‘Battle of the Platforms’ when some of the biggest creators on YouTube face their TikTok counterparts. With millions of fans between them, the so-called influencers will be hoping for maximum returns from their pay-per-view event.
With the heavyweight-boxing calendar currently in disarray, YouTube Boxing events will seek to pre-occupy fans with regular entertainment. The after-effects it will have on the development of the sport is up for much speculation.
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