KSI vs Logan Paul 2: YouTube stars are putting reputations at stake, says Joe Weller
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 07/11/19 6:53pm
Joe Weller has first hand experience of a YouTube fight and tells Sky Sports that reputations are at stake in front of an audience of millions in KSI-Logan Paul 2.
"I was so excited, to be honest, because I was a huge fan of this guy, he was like my idol in starting YouTube," said Weller, who willingly accepted a challenge for a boxing fight against KSI, a fellow YouTuber that had seized the attention of a huge following on social media.
His own experience of the sport had been limited to a white-collar bout on a remote industrial estate, with the eventual video capturing the attention of fellow Brit KSI, sparking an exchange that took YouTuber boxing to an unparalleled level.
COULD KSI HANDLE DEFEAT? 🤔@joe_weller_ believes a loss on Saturday would hit @KSIOlajidebt harder than @LoganPaul and the stakes are higher for JJ ⬆ 😓 #KSILoganPaul2— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) November 6, 2019
📺Full video: https://t.co/GiBC9IiiVG pic.twitter.com/nzwR70aUFF
The Copper Box Arena, an Olympic venue, was booked for February 2018, but a far greater audience were already debating the outcome of KSI vs Joe Weller on social media.
Suddenly Weller had to commit himself entirely to the sport as he entered an unforgiving environment, swiftly realising that he lacked the natural instincts which are essential to the sport.
"I'm not a fighter. I don't want to knock people out. It's fun, I like showing my skill, but when it comes to the brutal 'Do you want to hurt someone?' No, I don't."
Furious words were traded at an unruly press conference as viewing numbers rocketed and those initial throwaway comments were long forgotten, with Weller committed to a showdown with KSI in a far greater media spotlight.
In a frenetic fight, Weller stood firm against the naturally bigger KSI, despite being hampered by knee surgery, but was eventually stopped in the third round.
A social media backlash is still ongoing.
"The standard thing of you putting in seven months of work, believing in hard work pays off, and then not only does it not pay off, but I just froze on the night and I didn't perform. I didn't throw any punches.
"That obviously really destroyed me and then you have the fans, the people that are haters, don't ever let you forget about it.
"Whenever you are posting anything, they are telling you 'You got knocked out!' You can't talk about boxing, even though I'm passionate about it. It changes you in a way. You really have to overcome it."
Words of caution for former foe KSI, who renews his rivalry with American Logan Paul on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, in what is expected to be the most-watched fight of this YouTube boxing phenomenon.
Recognised titles are not on the line and neither YouTuber is likely to pursue a long-term boxing career, but a humbling loss is hard to overcome, and the social media world will provide its own judgement in the aftermath.
Watch KSI vs Logan Paul 2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from midnight. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.