KSI, Paul, Danis And Fury Deliver A Memorable Night, But Almost No Boxing

Plenty of Misfits, very little boxing
09:54, 16 Oct 2023

Misfits Boxing didn’t deliver much of the latter in their two main fights at Manchester AO Arena on Saturday night. Dillon Danis almost threw less punches than he had takedown attempts in his bizarre disqualification loss to Logan Paul. Then in the top attraction, KSI clinched his way to the final bell against a Tommy Fury who didn’t seem bothered about stopping him doing so. While we’ve established on these pages that these crossover boxing cards aren’t aimed at the purist, there was still a striking lack of pugilism in the headline bouts.

On the one hand this puts Misfits in somewhat of a bind. The fight week events promised nothing short of mutually assured destruction between KSI and Fury and Paul and Danis. These men loathed each other, we were told. While boxing often sells its fights on enmity that is a little exaggerated, the Misfits tete-a-tetes are supposed to be on another level. The whole attraction is that the feuds are genuine.

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The influencer boxing scene is rapidly growing in popularity as a refreshing antidote to the traditional sport. These aren’t just fights, we’re told, but the culmination of genuine and bitter rivalries. We never believed Mike Tyson when he said he was going to eat Lennox Lewis’ children. But DAZN and Misfits want you think everything that goes down between their fighters will explode in the ring. 

Paul had to endure Danis posting explicit material alleging to be his fiance online and constant taunts surrounding her. The drama has reportedly spilled over into legal action from the couple towards Danis. After watching Paul clash with the MMA fighter on Saturday night, one may find those legal proceedings a more thrilling watch than the boxing match.

The clues were there when Danis pulled out of a scheduled fight with KSI in January due to feeling “underprepared” and not having a coach in place. ‘Double D’ proudly spoke of not having a coach again in a face-off with Paul at the press conference on Friday. He certainly didn’t look prepared as he struggled to get his shots off and eventually resorted to launching MMA takedowns in a successful bid to get the fight called off. Unsurprisingly, in the post-fight mass brawl that broke out between his and Paul’s camps, he was suddenly able to throw the punches that had eluded him during the bout.

The main event didn’t fair much better in the gallery of public scrutiny. KSI seemed to have the scale of his task dawn on him, faced with a professional boxer in the opposite corner rather than the steady diet of rappers and influencers he was used to. The star, real name Olajide Olatunji, adopted a safety first approach.

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A more experienced pro than Fury would have been able to shatter these defences early and often. But as in his bout with Jake Paul, ‘TNT’ Tommy seems to lack the cutting edge to make these crossover bouts in the routs they really should be. Perhaps that’s the idea. Once one of these YouTube boxers gets destroyed, there goes their drawing power. So first Paul and now KSI was allowed to emerge with the credit of taking a pro boxer the distance. Both men disputed their respective decision defeats to Fury, with KSI going as far as to launch an appeal. While he was by no means destroyed, KSI would do well to realise that in order to win a boxing match one really should throw more punches than the amount of clinches he initiates. 

But now there is an excuse for a rematch. The controversy, however imagined, will justify another fight with Tommy. For his part, it is hard to see Fury’s skills catching up to his profile in the traditional pro ranks. His superstar name and Love Island celebrity status dictates he would need big fights but his skillset is not yet developed enough to handle them. It’s not his fault, this is a fighter who has become a mainstream name while still a novice. But at this point the learning fights he needs would be criticised by the public due to his fame. They would also pay far less than the reported seven-figure sum he took home on Saturday.

So we’ll get KSI-Fury II, not due to the overwhelming entertainment of the first, but because there is enough doubt there to sell it. The fact the decision on the night was read out as a majority verdict for Fury rather than unanimous due to a mathematical error casts further uncertainty, even if its not in the direction KSI would like. These two will fight again because it will make money. It really is that simple.

The dollar and pound signs are the reason we haven’t seen the last of Danis, too. People will pay to see him because he is arrogant and compelling. He has proven that when you pay to see a Dillon Danis fight, anything can happen. Anything except boxing, it appears. 

But as we concluded in our press conference coverage, boxing isn’t really what Misfits are selling. This is WWE with gloves. The storylines are concocted to fuel the next pay-per-view in a way that would make Vince McMahon purr. Come and see the MMA wildman who refuses to box. Lay down your money to see KSI get justice. Logan Paul calling out WWE colleague Rey Mysterio in the aftermath of the Danis mess just underlines what we already knew. Welcome to Misfits. Welcome to Pro Wrestling 2.0. Grab a bottle of Prime on your way out

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