Peter Lewinton recalls the largely positive attitude toward YouTube fighters from Tyson Fury, who recently hammered Deontay Wilder
With the wild parties finally dying down to glowing embers after a classic weekend in which Tyson Fury confounded expectations by thoroughly beating up reigning WBC Champion Deontay Wilder and England put Ireland to the sword in the Six Nations Rugby, English sports fans can stand tall.
Wilder vs Fury 2 was a great sporting contest and Sky Sports must be gnashing their teeth that BT Sport secured the UK rights to it. It was totally worth the 4.30am alarm and £24.95 price tag. The third instalment will also represent value if Wilder bravely takes on the rematch on the basis that the he can produce an improved performance.
We all want to see Fury vs Joshua, but one suspects that AJ needs the fight more than the “Gypsy King” given their respective achievement. Writing off Frank Warren as a boxing promoter is clearly a fool’s errand.
I hope that Jake Paul and KSI were carefully watching the build-up and fight itself. These YouTubers divide opinion among the boxing community but, lashing myself to the mast, I will say that I am a fan. Fortunately for me Tyson Fury agrees as he says in this interview from last year.
The YouTubers are brave, determined and certainly promote the hell out of a fight and bring a younger demographic into boxing. But it is amateur stuff and should be seen as such. No less entertaining for it, but not in the same stratosphere as Fury vs Wilder 2. Both types of contest can co-exist very successfully if this important distinction is recognised. Fighting men like Tyson Fury are boxers to the core who do some promotion in order to help their fights be a commercial success. YouTubers like Jake Paul are talented entertainers for the internet age who do some boxing as a form of entertainment.
Perhaps boxing has strayed a little too far towards pure entertainment and opened the door a little to the YouTube Fighter phenomenon. But this is understandable. Fabulous boxers like Oleksandr Usyk avoid the limelight and as a result make it so much more difficult for them to secure decent fights as the ticket and TV revenues don’t follow.
However wily promoters ensuring that some obvious fights don’t happen, in order to protect their investments, damage the credibility of boxing overall and open the door to the sport becoming purely about entertainment rather than also about skill.
YouTube Fighters are great for boxing as long as they find the correct slot in the boxing ecosystem.