Over the weekend the YouTube stars had their rematch fight on DAZN.
It’s 2019. The age of the #influencer. Two guys with a big enough social following can take the main event at the Staples Center and face off in a Fisher Price ring while boxing superstars play second fiddle to the modern form of the reality tv celebrity.
A lot of people in the boxing community want to discount the accomplishments of Logan Paul and KSI over the weekend.
Good boxing? No. Good show? Maybe. Hard fought? Yes. They looked like two young kids who went balls out in a smoker fight. The one doing more wild swinging won. You got to give it to them. They didn’t wimp out, so give it to ’em.
It’s a event that probably won’t be repeated so put aside the jealousy and negativity let’s put this one to rest. Focus on what we can learn from this.
Boxers need to take more of the promotion aspect of the game into their own hands. We live at a time where kids can star in their own TV shows right from their bedroom and if KSI can cultivate a following big enough to earn him a DAZN main event payday, the young stars in our sport ought to be doing the same.
Say what you will about Ryan Garcia, but he his killing the game in the social media department. He’s got the Oscar like ‘”golden boy” good looks that combined with boxing talent are traditionally the recipe for promotional stardom in this sport. He got started earlier building, with the tools available today, his brand than the traditional route and budgets of a promoter-boxer relationship.
Last month when he was in financial disputes with his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, which eventually got settled with a lucrative deal, he was actually right. He pulls a lot of his own weight in that people know of him because of the work he’s putting in on creating viral training videos and using those silly doggie ear snapchat filters. He’s the teenie bopper star of today, but he crafted this on his stardom on his own.
I’ve heard some boxing fans grumbling that the Nikita Ababiy fight went right before the Logan Paul KSI main event, and not the Billy Joe Sunders or Devin Haney fights.
Is it because Nikita is white, blonde, good looking, and has a Justin Bieber cut? I mean it’s partially that.
But guess what? Nikita Ababiy, while fresh in his professional career and new in his contract with Matchroom Boxing, also is a Vlogger and started all of that before his pro days. Not all of his videos are boxing content and not all of his 11 thousand YouTube subscribers came as result of the DAZN/Matchroom contract. He’s putting in the work.
I started out this blog post by saying that young boxers should learn from the Logan Paul KSI event and take some action early. Look at Nikita, he’s been doing that. Eddie Hearn probably recognized that and thinks this kid can become a star. He’s right.
Here are a few fighters who I think are doing this control your own destiny, self promotion thing right.
Ryan Garcia. Not a big surprise there.
Keep your eyes open for the last two if you don’t know them already. And for you young fighters out there, get to work on building your own brand now. We hustle to sell our own tickets to our pro debuts in ballroom shows, why not put in that same early hustle on the video/content side of things. When your time comes and you’re under the lights, those early videos and extra credit content pieces, will serve as a body of work that people can reference back to and know your authenticity, much like the portfolio of an artist or graphic designer.