For as long as I can remember boxing had two codes, Amateur and professional, nothing in between. In the last ten years or so we have seen the proliferation of White collar boxing and Ross Minter’s Queensbury boxing League in the UK.
White collar boxing has its roots in New York back in the late 1980s and became a big deal in London when promoter Alan Lacey put on the first big event “Capital Punishment” in 2000. It has gone on to be a huge success and is said to be one reason we have seen so many boxing gyms flourish on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ross Minter and his business partner Alan Foley started their Queensbury Fight Club in 2009, soon renaming it The Queensbury Boxing League. The shows are a chance for anyone wanting to box whether they have amateur, professional, or zero experience in the sport. Having trained a fighter that fought on one of the Queensbury Boxing league shows I have to say that the experience is nothing short of spectacular. This is where totally unknown boxers get the world championship treatment, I doubt there is anything else quiet like it.
When British Youtube personality KSI, real name Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji first fought American Youtuber Logan Paul in an amateur/white-collar bout at the Manchester Arena in 25th August 2018 the result was a majority draw, but more importantly, it drew over 1 million live Youtube pay per view buys. Enter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn has signed a promotional contract to stage the rematch at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the 9th November. Both boxers (Youtuber’s) have gained professional licenses and the event looks likely to draw an even bigger viewing audience than the first fight.
Is this the right direction for boxing to be taking? This is after all just ‘celebrity boxing.’ It will bring in a new audience as Hearn has stated and many, he hopes will then gain an interest in main stream boxing. He is right, many viewers that tune in to watch KSI and Paul will want to see how full time pro boxers go about entertaining the hard core fans, even if it is solely to make a comparison.
DAZN will stream the event live and the undercard will be made up of mainly world-class fights, WBO world super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has already been mentioned, making a first defence of his title.
The fight will draw huge publicity and as such should be a good thing for mainstream boxing. However, we have to hope that ‘celebrity boxing’ doesn’t make a mockery of boxing as a sport. No matter how hard they train, or what famous coaches they employ, both KSI or Logan Paul are raw novices that wouldn’t survive a single round against any other fighter capable of drawing a million PPV buys.
I was one of those who worried that Mayweather vs McGregor was taking things too far. A genuine PPV boxing star against his MMA equivalent. Sounds fair until you add that it is a boxing match, a sport in which McGregor would be making his pro debut. Sounds ridiculous that it was ever allowed to happen until you hear the total revenue for the event. I know that sounds cynical but we have to be honest and say that the only reason these types of fights are getting made is money, not for the good of boxing.
As to who wins, who knows? Having watched the first fight on Youtube, they are both pretty awful. Don’t get me wrong, they entertained but not with any degree of skill. Commitment and effort, yes, they gave it their all but as far as being professional boxers goes, they are better off sticking to making videos.
Logan Paul made a strong start but was gassed out by the end of the 2nd round. KSI, then came back into the fight but couldn’t make a dent in the much stronger looking Paul. But it was all KSI by the end of the 6 rounds and he looked to me to have done just enough to win.
Prediction: KSI on points