MIAMI, FLORIDA – JANUARY 30: Jake Paul celebrates after defeating AnEsonGib in a first round … [+]
Paul defeated his opponent, fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, in just 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Fresh off the win, fans are already itching for him to take on KSI.
Paul was the favorite headed into the match, and Gib’s unsteady, awkward stance ensured that the fight was short. After Paul knocked Gib down for the third time, the referee called it. The YouTuber vs. YouTuber event, which was trending on Twitter and garnered more attention than the main event, ended with a win for Paul.
Within minutes of his victory, Paul called out a rival in a post-match interview: “KSI is gonna get clocked next. I didn’t have to win by two points.”
KSI, a British YouTuber and rapper, entered the ring twice with Jake’s brother, Logan Paul, in 2018 and 2019. While the 2018 match resulted in a majority draw, the re-match last November was a contentious affair. KSI was named the winner in a split decision, with two judges calling the match for KSI and one judge for Paul by slim margins. KSI rejected the idea of another rematch with Logan Paul, but after JakePaul vs. Gib, a match between KSI and Logan’s triumphant younger brother may be in the cards.
If there’s one winner from these YouTuber boxing matches, it’s DAZN. The sports streaming subscription service responsible for organizing the fights has successfully ridden the Paul Brothers’ social media clout to bring thousands of new fans into boxing. 773,000 viewers watched the first Logan Paul-KSI match on DAZN’s official YouTube stream while 400,000 viewers used unofficial Twitch streams. The second fight had similar numbers. YouTuber fights may not be the height of boxing, but fans don’t seem to care, so neither does DAZN.
The Paul Brothers have greatly benefited from the attention given to their neophyte boxing careers. The Paul-KSI, Paul-Gib fights swallowed up the space given to damaging narratives about the YouTube creators’ numerous scandals. Boxing also pays, and it pays well. KSI and Logan Paul each earned $900,000 from their match that ended in a split-decision and reportedly took home a portion of ticket and DAZN subscription revenue. This could mean that the Paul Brothers are earning more than established boxers in the ring, which is a far better situation than continuing to be a victim of YouTube’s ever-changing monetization schemes.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the boxing fever has not permeated the rest of the YouTube. Last December, the Dobre Brothers unsuccessfully tried to challenge former-Vine-star-turned-popular-YouTuber Cody Ko to a boxing match against Cyrus Dobre because of Ko’s “cyberbullying.” The challenge video gained triple the number of dislikes to likes. In a response video, Ko dismissed the invitation, explaining that he would lose because he is “built like a croissant.”