Okay. So let’s talk about influencer boxing.

Yes, we know. You, Mr. Dedicated MMA Fan, are one of simple pleasures. You like your fries hot and crispy, you like your Spring evenings cool and mild, and you like your MMA sites to talk about MMA and MMA only.

We get it. Trust me, we do. This weekend has been quite the eventful one for it between Gegard Mousasi losing to Fabian Edwards at Bellator 296 on Friday and Jailton Almeida tapping out Jairzinho Rosenstruik at UFC on ABC 4 on Saturday. I’m sure you’re just jazzed to read about all that.

But most people aren’t logging on to read up on any of that. They want to know about KSI’s win at the latest Misfits boxing event.

Was MF & DAZN: X Series 007 a mess of an event? Yes. Is the whole trend of influencer boxing, of allowing personalities with strong online presences and little to no combat sports backgrounds or training enter a boxing ring and wail on each other for our amusement both problematic and potentially damaging to the reputation and integrity of combat sports now and in the future? Of course it is.

Is this mess also, in a bit of a dirty guilty pleasure sort of way, highly entertaining? Damn right it is. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Plus, it’s kind of hard to throw stones considering some of the fights we’ve seen happen in mainstream MMA promotions. I mean, you can’t be too upset to see two 400 pound YouTubers lace up gloves when Pride did Zuluzinho vs. Butterbean (among so many others), Bellator did Kimbo vs. DaDa 5000, and even UFC brought in CM Punk.

Influencer boxing is a circus but it’s a hot ticket right now. This is thanks in large part to its ringmaster, Oladije Ojatunji, better known professionally as KSI.

KSI is the ringmaster of this entire movement

KSI has been the spark that lit the fire of this movement, first with Joe Weller (another YouTuber) and then, more famously, with a series of fights against Logan Paul.

Those events also unleashed upon us Logan’s younger brother Jake, the man who is mostly responsible for the intermingling between that world and the world of MMA, something that is surely regrettable to any of you who are still reading and haven’t already rushed to the comments to bash a combat sports site for covering a combat sport.

What’s interesting about these three men, aside from the obvious fact that they’re all brilliantly milking this for all it’s worth, is they all have approached boxing with different aims and goals.

Logan is the one who’s had no real intention of making a name or a living through boxing. He was just looking to cash in when the money got good enough, which it did with the KSI fights as well as his exhibition with Floyd Mayweather.

Jake is the one who has been trying to become renown as a boxer, never mind the fact that the best way he’s been able to accomplish that so far has been by facing MMA fighters and losing to a reality star with a famous last name.

KSI, though, is the one who comes across like he actually wants to make a sport out of influencer boxing. Well, either that or he’s just allowing DAZN to use his name value to accomplish the same thing.

Either way, by starting these Misfits series of events with DAZN, KSI has made a lot of opportunities for online entertainers of all sorts to try and cash in the way he has.

Misfits Boxing 007: KSI vs Fournier

It’s worth noting that I’m saying all this being fully aware I don’t have the faintest clue who any of these people are. I don’t use Twitch. I don’t use Twitter (feel free to follow me, though). I mainly use YouTube to stream albums from 20 years ago and I don’t use TikTok because I don’t need the Chinese government getting my personal information. They probably already have it anyway.

I don’t know what a “Tennessee Thresher” is. I don’t know how you’re supposed to pronounce “ViruZz.”

All I know is there was a fight between a guy named Zuckles and a guy named Halal Ham and it wasn’t the worst fight I’ve ever seen.

That’s one of the saving graces of these Misfits shows is that they do appear to be trying to keep things professional. They have real boxing referees and judges. They compete in a ring and with a TV presentation that looks as good as most boxing cards. And they’re actually trying to book fights that are fair and competitive.

There were some bad fights on the show, but there were also some good ones too, and I’m not bothered by the fact that most of the fighters are throwing straight punches and looping overhands with reckless abandon because they’ve only been training for a month.

Teddy Atlas’s head would probably explode if he was forced to watch any of this, but I barely understand MMA boxing, let alone actual boxing, so this is right up my alley.

Now, the show didn’t end on the greatest of notes, as KSI defeated noted…somebody…Joe Fournier by knockout with what he claimed was a right hook but was actually a right forearm. That isn’t a good look for KSI, and the result should be overturned, but I doubt it matters much as his win and faceoff with Tommy Fury is all anybody is going to be talking about.

Wait, Tommy Fury? Oooh, Jake is gonna be soooo jealous

I know this influencer boxing trend isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or PRIME). To many, it’s a waste of time. To some, it’s the dying gasps of a sport that’s long been in decline (nevermind there have been some legit major boxing events lately).

But to others, it’s a fun escape, a chance to see some of the stars they look up to throw down in a whole new arena. It’s proof that, sometimes, we take combat sports way too seriously.

Seriously guys, lighten up. This is Celebrity Boxing for the Gen Z era. Don’t you all remember the thrill of seeing Danny Bonnaduce and Barry Williams go at it 20 years after they both stopped being relevant?

Wait, did I just date myself? Forgive me, for I am just an unfrozen caveman MMA beat writer.

About the author
Evan Zivin
Evan Zivin

Evan Zivin is a writer, having joined Bloody Elbow in 2023. He's been providing his unique takes on the sport of MMA since 2013, previously working as a featured columnist for 411Mania. Evan has followed MMA and professional wrestling for most of his life. His joy is in finding the stories and characters within all combat sports and presenting them in a serious yet light-hearted way.

More from the author

Related Stories