Could Youtubers-turned-boxers actually be positive for the sport?
Nothing divides opinion in the world of professional boxing like bringing up YouTubers who have decided to pursue a career in the ring. Looking back, it was hard to find a single supportive voice who was first in favour of watching YouTubers fight each other with the complaint being that these fly-by-night characters were using the noble art of boxing to further their own means. Admittedly, this was a valid concern and fans were well within their rights to question the legitimacy of what appeared to be more of a circus act than a genuine bout. However, a few years on from this audacious foray into the sport, has boxing begun to see the first green shoots of having YouTubers involved within the sport?
Fears over YouTubers taking over are unfounded
Naturally, this isn’t to say that they aren’t anything other than a sideshow to the main goings on of the various weight divisions around the world. For instance, the lion’s share of attention will still be on the box-office matches of the likes of Tyson Fury and this will be evident when he defends his WBC belt in early March. With the eyes of the world on him, the Englishman is, without doubt, the favourite to win and anyone who does bet on sports will see this is the case with Fury priced at just 4/9 to remain undefeated.
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Away from the spotlight on Fury, the wider point here is that there is very little to worry about as far as YouTubers taking over the sport and reducing it to nothing but a set of exhibition matchups.
— Derek Chisora ???? (@DerekWarChisora) January 28, 2023
Indeed, the large majority of the public’s interest will always be on the legacies of the main protagonists such as Fury and the former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, and how how they are faring in the quest to sit at the top of the division.
Note to self : I got to work harder pic.twitter.com/etUMTPvsp3
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) September 2, 2022
There is a time and a place for YouTubers
But even if they only appeal to a certain audience, this doesn’t mean that YouTubers don’t have a place in the sport or can't improve the spectacle. On the contrary, British fight fans may look back on this era as one where a generation of fighters who revere these YouTubers decided to take up boxing.
In particular, thanks to the efforts of KSI in the ring, the sport has never been more popular with fans who, in all likelihood, wouldn’t have otherwise been the slightest bit interested in boxing. The knock-on effect of this newfound curiosity can only be positive in the sense that a future British world champion could emerge out of KSI’s legion of followers, which currently sits at 24 million on YouTube.
In addition to a future champion potentially being captivated by the boxing journey that KSI is on, with his latest impressive win notably coming in mid-January at the Wembley Arena in northwest London, there are also the added benefits that come with boxing in terms of building personal discipline.
At least, with the likes of KSI meticulously documenting his pre-fight camps in the gym to his YouTube subscribers, millions of eyes are being opened to the back-breaking level of sacrifice any boxer has to put in in order to get fighting fit.
Needless to say, with fans wanting to emulate KSI's performance in the gym and having been inspired by what they see, there is surely a huge amount of positive energy now being put into self-improvement all over the country. Essentially, a price can't be put on how positive this trend could turn out to be.
The benefits could be seen and felt for years to come
Again, whatever way you look at it, British boxing stands to gain an immeasurable amount by having these influencers use their power to promote change by taking part in something as worthwhile and rewarding as boxing. Ask any trainer up and down Britain and they will tell you that many minds and lives have been improved by getting into the gym and honing skills on the punching bags or by sparring in the ring. This is without question, the best place to find a true sense of one's self, and thanks to these YouTubers, there is a small army now taking up the sport.