Youtube sensations KSI and Logan Paul will go head-to-head in the ring once again after their controversial draw last year in Manchester. This time, having seen the success of the first fight, promoter Eddie Hearn has got involved and put together a stacked undercard featuring several world-class boxers. One of those is defending WBO super-middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders, who caught up with The Sportsman to give his views on the fight.
When asked whether he should be headlining on fight night he exclusively told The Sportsman: “I didn’t even know who the other two guys were until I had a look. But it doesn’t really bother me because you get some headliners and some top of the bills for some shows, then you get someone on the undercard come through and completely steal the show.
“I’m not a big believer in someone saying: ‘You’re top of the bill’, as long as everyone has got a good time slot, that’s all I’m worried about and winning, defending my title.”
The first fight between the two YouTubers, who have a combined following of 40 million on the platform, generated over one million pay-per-view buys along with over 75 million views online, post-fight. This sort of audience is something Saunders is looking forward to: “You know I think that any exposure even after that is phenomenal, especially for someone like myself debuting on DAZN and debuting in America, to have that sort of attraction around you I mean you’ve got to grab it with both hands and I'm quite looking forward to the bill to be fair.
“You know it’s getting a lot of criticism on social media and other networks but for me, I’m just looking forward to performing in front of the big crowd, the big audience and the TV cameras.”
The first press conference drew criticism online after some childish behaviour on stage, but the world champion praised the pair for the profile they have created for themselves:
“You can see that the two guys haven’t got the fighter's mentality, they haven't got the fighter’s bravado, they don’t really know how to come across as fighters because they are not.
“But what they are is clever and intelligent businessmen, they are looking at it as a bit of WWF the way they are going at it, but they’ve put themselves in this position, no one's giving them a helping hand and they are grabbing it with both hands.
I personally give them a pat on the back, fair play to them.
The first fight may have drawn a massive audience, but the 30-year-old was not one of them:
“I haven't seen them fight, I didn't watch the first fight but from the sounds of everybody they can fire a dig or two.
“They’ve obviously built their profile in the right way. They’ve got a great following, a great fanbase, I think a lot of fighters should take a leaf out of their book because if a good fighter can get that sort of fanbase then he has cracked it.”
The bout at the Staples Center will be shown live on DAZN, and the stacked undercard of professional fighters is sure to entice boxing fans:
“Obviously, Eddie has put these on to attract non-boxing fans, but he has also put a good undercard on to make you go ‘Ooh’. There’s something for your boxing fans to watch, in the UK and in America.”
The ninth of November is the date for your diary, where Billy Joe Saunders will defend his title against an as-of-yet unnamed opponent and two of the biggest online celebrities do battle once again.
This time around both fighters have turned professional, meaning that unlike in the first fight, there are no head-guards and 10oz gloves, which should make for an entertaining bout.