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Eddie Hearn: KSI vs Logan Paul is a chance to bring new fans to boxing

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The Matchroom promoter explains his decision to get into boxing’s latest novelty event.

If you haven’t heard, there’s a pretty ‘special’ fight coming up between internet personalities in KSI and Logan Paul. The two will rematch in a fight that will be professionally sanctioned this time, and Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn talks about why he’s got promoting this event.

Hearn on why he decided to get involved in promoting a fight between two YouTubers:

“If a day passed where I didn’t get criticized I’d be worried that I’d stop breathing. So with KSI and Logan Paul it’s really quite simple. The first fight come around and I thought ‘what is this?’ you know...So you do your research, you find out that they’re not just YouTubers, they have possibly the biggest following of any — forget YouTubers, sport stars, rock stars, everything. They hire out the Manchester Arena, I start laughing, ‘how embarrassing is this gonna be for these guys?’

“20,000 sold out instantly. We had a show the same night, right, I think we was in the Copper Box. I think we had 5,000. And then I watched the press conferences, I saw thousands of people turning up to the press conferences. I saw York Hall having to shut down because they couldn’t fit anymore people in for the London press conference. Then it’s on PPV and I’m thinking ‘this is gonna be a disaster.’ Does 1.3 million PPV buys. And you know what? The fight was pretty good. Two guys in great shape, who had trained hard for this fight. The digital world, the social world stopped and watched this event.

“They came to me after the fight and said ‘we want you to do the rematch.’ I been thinking about it for months and months and months, and meetings and meetings, knowing the stick I’m gonna get. So there were a few simple rules that I wanted to get in place.

“Number one, this isn’t a novelty event. You want to do this, you do this properly. You turn professional, you follow the code of everybody else...Get those head guards off. You wanna fight, this is a real fight. And we’re down to 10oz gloves. Because now you’ve entered the danger zone of professional boxing, not a gimmick of two guys on YouTube in head guards with big gloves. No, this is a real fight.

“On the undercard we want world championship boxing. We don’t want other YouTubers and celebrities. No, this is a chance for boxing to bring in new fans. And if we’re gonna bring them in, we have to show them the greatness of our sport [by headlining two novices]. So that’s the reason behind that. And I just couldn’t ignore it.

“I know the stick that comes, especially from short-sighted people who can’t grasp the fact that there’s another world out there. These individuals are heros or role models — for right or wrong reasons, you might like that, you might not. They are. Kids coming through, the younger generation, go crazy about these guys. For the next few months they’re gonna be talking boxing, boxing, boxing. There’s gonna be 20,000 people sold out at the Staples Center. There’s gonna be millions of people watching around the world on Sky, on DAZN, everywhere! So bring them in, the boxing’s at a good level — a good level, these guys can fight.

“Let ‘em watch the great young fighters on the undercard, let ‘em watch great world championship boxing. Bring that massive audience into the sport, make them stick — they won’t all stick but some will — and that will grow the sport. We have to open our minds and not just be narrow-minded and say ‘this is our sport, we don’t let anybody else in.

“If these guys wanna follow the true conduct of sporting boxing and take the risks that fighters take, which they will do with these new rules, let’s do it. It’s gonna be wild, crazy, it’s gonna blow the sport of boxing up. And we’re behind it! Love it or hate it, we’re not going anywhere.”