Anthony Joshua’s gargantuan showdown with Andy Ruiz Jr on December 7 might be the biggest boxing rematch on every fight fan’s lips at the moment but it’s another, between two of Youtube’s biggest stars, that currently has promoter Eddie Hearn salivating.
The second fight between Britain’s KSI and America’s Logan Paul has been pencilled in for November 9 at Los Angeles’ iconic Staples Center, following a draw between the pair in 2018 at the Manchester Arena that received a whopping 60 million online views. This time, Hearn wants in on the lucrative action.
The bout between two of social media’s biggest profiles has drawn widespread criticism from boxing purists around the world, and while Hearn agrees with the resentment towards the fight to an extent, he believes that the fight can only be beneficial to the sport in the long run.
Speaking to The Sportsman, the Matchroom Sports boss said: “It’s a circus. I think it will be good for the sport, but it’s a circus.
I have to be honest, I was stood in the press conference thinking ‘What the f**k is going on here?'
“Then I looked at the numbers and I saw that 700,000 people were watching the press conference live on their channels. I think, now, 10 million people have watched the press conference.
“So what’s the global audience for this fight going to be? I don’t know, in excess of 50 million?
“If we can retain 1% to the sport, then that’s massive for the sport, but we’ve got to work hard to do that. It’s not going to be easy, I’d like to retain 10%.”
A degree of credibility has been added to the rematch for the boxing hardcore with two-weight world champion Billy Joe Saunders and the highly-touted Devin Haney making appearances on the undercard, and Hearn hopes these names can inspire a new generation into taking an interest into ‘The Sweet Science'.
He says: “If we can showcase why we love the sport and show this new audience how great the sport is, then we’ve got a chance."
Hearn also added that, while it might not be for everyone, the landscape around the sport, for better or for worse, is changing whether we like it or not.
“We can’t ignore this new world that we live in. Olympic athletes are no longer role models for the younger generation, Youtube stars are. As sad as it may seem, that’s the truth, that’s the world we live in.
“We just need to face reality, embrace it and try and use that to keep growing boxing.”