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The Evolution of Boxing: From Anthony Joshua to KSI

Rami Shamel, BA History

A night in Boxing history which transformed the landscape.

Known as the ‘Sweet Science’, the sport of Boxing has always been one with an epic history as old as civilization itself. Considered barbaric or brutal by some critics, boxing fans know that this sport is far from it and can be considered as eloquent as a dance and one of the most beautiful sports in the world. The sport of boxing has seen the likes of many great influencers, such as Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali. However, the sport of boxing has taken a new leap in the modern era with YouTubers now taking to the boxing stage. On 9 November 2019, YouTube megastars KSI and Logan Paul took to the boxing ring to fight their first professional boxing fight; a night where sport and entertainment collided. With over 40 million subscribers on YouTube, the two created an even – promoted by Boxing’s leading promoter Eddie Hearn – that transformed the landscape of Boxing. 

The facts and figures speak for themselves, with the fight being labelled the biggest event in YouTube history. It got millions of views worldwide and surpassed Match Rooms Boxing’s prior fight involving Anthony Joshua, previous Heavyweight champion of the world. Despite the huge success the event received in terms of numbers and revenue, the event itself received a huge amount of boxing critics.They labelled the event a mockery of the sport. Professional boxers, alongside hardcode boxing fans, argued that the event would ruin the reputation of the sport and further discredit the passion, desire and hard work that goes into boxing. However, not all boxers agreed with this view. In fact, many saw it as an opportunity to further gain a new following and increased fan base, as evident by the undercards on the main event, which included professional boxer Billy Joe Saunders. 

The night itself has been described a huge success for boxing in terms of the revenue received, the increased traffic, and the amount of new members signing up to watch future boxing events. Undeniably, the event has increased the number of fans now tuning in to boxing and, despite some critics still arguing against the event, a huge amount of respect is due to both fighters for entering the ring. This now poses the question of where the future of boxing lies. The paramount success of this event has resulted in a number of celebrities wanting to fight the winner, KSI, ultimately leading to potential future fights. There is indeed a huge market for such events – and in an era of social media, the limits and future of boxing can be pushed to new boundaries. 

It cannot be denied that this event has definitely engaged a new target audience, as evident by the increased number of subscribers tuning in to watch the AJ and Ruiz fight in mid-December. There is, however, still a lot of heated debate surrounding this polemic topic of ‘celebrity boxing’. As for KSI and Logan Paul, the future of boxing is still to be seen, but in this day and era who knows what fight we could see next. Anything is possible…perhaps even a KSI and Mayweather fight…

On second thoughts maybe not anything.


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