KSI and Logan Paul deserve ‘respect’ after their YouTube rematch – and A-list celebrities are already targeting the winner, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
The social media sensations produced an entertaining second fight as Britain’s KSI emerged with a split-decision victory over American Paul at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Critics had questioned why the YouTubers had received main event status above world champions such as Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney, but the Matchroom Boxing boss believes KSI and Logan Paul should now receive recognition for dedicating themselves to the sport.
Hearn told Sky Sports: “The strange thing about this crazy sport is that we wanted to bring in professional boxing with this crazy circus, if you like, and we wanted to showcase [to] this new audience what’s great about the sport. Those guys – KSI, Logan Paul – ended up showcasing it.
“The Devin Haney fight was great; Billy Joe Saunders came back from behind to win by knockout; but that fight was everything that’s great about boxing, and we ended up seeing that from two YouTubers.
“Everybody gave them stick from the boxing community, but now you have to give them respect, because they always say you don’t get the respect of the community until you step through the ropes. They’ve done it twice now, on the biggest of stages.”
An aggressive start from KSI had forced Paul onto the back foot, but the Brit was then floored in the fourth, only for referee Jack Reiss to dock two points from the Ohio man for hitting on the back of the head.
Hearn believes that KSI had been spared a knockout defeat by Paul’s wild punches.
“KSI was gassed after two rounds, he had nothing in the tank,” said Hearn. “His legs were gone completely. It was a really good fight. Logan Paul is a good technical boxer. KSI is a little bit wild, but he knows what he’s doing. He jabs well, he moves well, I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
“I was very surprised [no-one got stopped] and I think that’s because how tough the guys were. KSI was gone completely. He was very lucky that Logan Paul hit him in the back of the head, because actually he got hit by a left hook and that was the shot that done it.
“He hit him in the back of the head and he gave him a chance to recover. If he wouldn’t have, that fight would have been over, in my opinion.”
After promoting his first YouTuber event, Hearn would consider staging another in the future, and revealed how big names had contacted him about a potential next bout.
“Would I encourage more of this, I have to say yes, at this moment in time,” he said. “I would, but at the right time, the appropriate time, whilst still respecting the code of the sport.