celebrity boxing, Social stars are swapping keyboards for canvas

Social stars are swapping keyboards for canvas

Celebrity Boxing – Is It Good For The Sport?

The thought of a celebrity boxing a few years ago would likely be the idea of a charity match between two non-athletes, however things are changing in the boxing world.

No longer is the sport solely for the super athletic pugilists who have trained since they were children to enter the profession, there is an increasing interest in celebrity bouts for personalities who already have a big social following but limited experience in the ring.

YouTubers such as Jake Paul have entered the fray to a mixed reception, with some boxers disgruntled at the thought of the exquisite science being tainted by imitators. Paul will argue that it’s good for the sport and that he’s a creditable boxer, but those in the know would take advantage of bookie offers to back his opponent Ben Askren in their upcoming fight as Askren has dedicated his life to the art.

celebrity boxing, Social stars are swapping keyboards for canvas
Social stars are swapping keyboards for canvas

Benefits

There are clear benefits for celebrities turning to the world of boxing.

The popularity of pugilism was waning in the recent past, with the UFC gaining popularity and converting fans from boxing to MMA. There isn’t the same star power in any division that there used to be, with Canelo the only truly exceptional boxer capable of commanding a huge audience. The Heavyweight division is usually what draws crowds, but the Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury fight has been dragging its heels and there are no other potential bouts which garner mass interest.

By introducing stars who already have global appeal such as YouTube brothers Jake and Logan Paul, boxing automatically gets a significant increase in viewership and worldwide visibility. This is inevitably good for the sport as not only are new fans introduced, but there is resultantly more chance of sponsorship from brands who usually wouldn’t consider investing in boxing.

The Logan Paul vs KSI bout, a boxing match between two social media stars, was reportedly the most watched boxing event of all time and was exclusively available to stream via YouTube. It started a train of fights including crossing into another medium when Jake Paul fought retired basketball star Nate Robinson. Again, appealing to an audience who wouldn’t usually watch boxing, the fight got fans and NBA stars active on social media, increasing the profile of boxing and income of Paul.

With rumours circulating of Logan Paul fighting the greatest boxer of all time in Floyd Mayweather Jnr, it’s evident that the era of YouTuber boxing has revolutionised the sport.

 

YouTubers are converting to boxing

Negatives

The introduction of YouTubers to the sport has been greeted negatively with those who have dedicated their entire careers to it and for good reason. Professional fighters who have trained for years to make it to a Championship-calibre undercard are risking being left off it in favour of social media sensations. 

The quality of fights is also something to consider. Jake Paul is at least training like a real fighter according to his mentor Sugar Shane Mosley, but that’s more than can be said for some of the other contenders whose techniques leave a lot to be desired.

The potential problems associated with YouTube boxers run deeper than reputational, it’s also about physical and mental wellbeing. 

It’s estimated that 15-40% of former boxers shows symptoms of chronic brain injury, and this in itself is a concerning statistic. The boxers in these studies have spent their lives learning and understanding how to fight and defend themselves professionally. The addition of YouTube boxers to the circuit poses a significant risk to their long-term health as they don’t have the required experience to defend their bodies proficiently and it will inevitably lead to problems down the line.

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