Jake Wood and KSI got involved in a public exchange over the involvement of YouTubers on platforms sacred to professional boxing.
YouTubers are being showcased increasingly on networks such as Showtime and DAZN, which were supposed to be what every pro boxer aims to achieve.
Becoming good enough to attract the attention of a top promoter with a TV deal was always the holy grail for any hard-working fighter.
But in a cruel twist, YouTube Boxing made it a different ballgame. Now, all you need is a certain number of followers, and you can appear on Showtime or DAZN without being signed to a promoter.
KSI’s Misfits Boxing is a prime example of this kind of intrusion into the sport. Parading substandard fighters as if they deserved to be at such a high level is a bone of contention that World Boxing News agrees with wholeheartedly.
YouTube Boxing should be confined to YouTube only, where it belongs as a second and sometimes third or fourth-rate product.
No one – other than a professional boxer who has earned his place through sheer hard work and talent – should be allowed to take those spots on what are supposed to be professional boxing channels.
Wood’s argument is strong, something most true boxing fans would agree with. However, at the prospect of losing any future deals if fans switch off, KSI felt the need to defend his corner from him.
“I have just canceled my DAZN Boxing subscription,” said Wood. “I’m not paying to watch YouTubers chase each other around a ring. Goodbye.”
KSI responds to Jake Wood
It didn’t take long for those who remember Wood’s involvement in a KSI fight through his Pound for Pound Podcast to clap back, including KSI himself.
“You literally were involved with the start of YouTube boxing [KSI vs Joe Weller]. This tweet was unnecessary, and I’m sad to see this from you, Jake.”
Wood then explained to KSI what the bulk of his argument was.
“I’ve got great respect for you, JJ [KSI]but I’ve seen too many YouTubers of late making outrageous claims of their prowess in the ring.
“It undermines what professional boxing and boxers stand for, in my opinion. Youtube boxing works as it is, but it shouldn’t be hyped as the real thing.”
KSI replied: “That’s like you saying you’re going to cancel your Sky Sports subscription because they posted highlights of a Sidemen charity football game.
“Or canceling your subscription because a random Youtuber said they’re the best footballer in the world.”
Again, the former Eastenders actor aired his reasoning.
“Fair point JJ. But having said that, Sky isn’t putting on amateur football matches masquerading as Premier League.
“I respect what you and DAZN are doing and the work you’re putting in, but I think the promotion and claims can be misleading.
“It’s an interesting debate though, [and I’m] not saying I’m one hundred percent right.”
The Sauerland brothers, promoters on DAZN and Sky Sports on separate occasions, then entered the conversation. Judging by Jake’s reply, it was Nisse Sauerland on the other end.
“Hi Jake, I thought you and the family enjoyed the comps we gave you at the Misfits Boxing KSI event.”
Jake said: “Yes, my kids loved it, to be fair, Nisse. I prefer watching the pros.”
A fan then reminded Wood that he was taking pictures with KSI after being involved in promoting an event.
Wood concluded: “Having organized the event, it was literally my job to go into the dressing rooms to ensure everything was running smoothly.
“That the fighters were alright. My kids were there enjoying the moment.”
Keep YouTube Boxing on YouTube
The debate will rage on. However, WBN is firmly in Jake Wood’s corner on this, as YouTube Boxing is clouding the market for the lower shows.
Young boxers no longer believe they can make it to TV. All the extra spots below the significant players and names taking part go to YouTube shows.
They don’t belong on the same network or platform by any stretch of the imagination.
YouTube Boxing should be on YouTube where it belongs. The sooner Showtime and DAZN realize that the better chance the sport will have to recover.
It’s no surprise boxing struggles when substandard events are added to the mix. Every promoter is now fighting for Pay Per View buys.
It’s harming the sport and hampering the biggest fights being made. Wake up Showtime and DAZN before it’s too late.