11 November 2019 11:20
Get the biggest daily news stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Whatever the result of tonight's fight between YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul, questions will continue to rage over whether their rivalry is real or manufactured. The latter is nothing new in the world of combat sports, particularly when huge sums of money are involved. And even in this brave new world of social media boxing, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees. According to KSI, he first met Paul at Super Bowl LI in 2017 when the New England Patriots fought back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. But the American disputes his claim and insists he only became aware of his British rival when he called him out following his win over Joe Weller a year later.
KSI said: "If any YouTuber wants it they can come and get it. Jake Paul, Logan Paul, any of the Pauls I don't care. Bring it." Logan's younger brother Jake made the same claim only for KSI to reveal he was a follower of his on social media. Indeed, it was Jake who was initially set to fight KSI but he stepped aside for elder Paul brother and instead agreed to fight KSI's sibling Deji. Paul visited KSI at his gym and handed him a contract, saying: "I came here to close a deal, let's get a deal done, bro," The American had initially wanted the fight to take place in a neutral venue such as Dubai, but eventually a two-fight deal was agreed.
Negotiations for the rematch quickly stalled, however, as the pair argued over a venue before Paul claimed KSI had breached the contract. "He already broke the contract, by the way," he said. "We're supposed to fight in February, and he's refusing to." KSI responded by saying he wanted to delay the fight until May this year with Dubai his preferred venue - although he accepted he might have to travel to America. (Image: Getty Images) In the meantime, leading promoter Eddie Hearn was sounded out about his interest in promoting the second fight and agreed on the condition that both KSI and Paul turned professional. They were subsequently licensed by the California State Athletic Commission and the fight was agreed on the further condition that the undercard would consist of professional fights rather than YouTubers, as the first one was. Given the professional nature of the sequel, Paul recruited former heavyweight world champion Shannon Briggs as his trainer while KSI drafted in Floyd Mayweather's uncle Jeff to assist head coach and professional fighter Viddal Riley. Paul trained in Los Angeles while KSI began his camp in London before moving to Las Vegas for the final stages. Both men have promised violent knockouts which would send the other into social media retirement. But the question is, will this change boxing for good or be just a dubious footnote in its storied history? Controversial YouTubers Logan Paul and Olajide 'KSI' Olatunji are set to trade blows in front of a sellout audience in Los Angeles. Dismissed by many in the boxing world as a farce, the fight is nonetheless expected to draw a worldwide audience of millions and earn the pair - as well as promoter Eddie Hearn - huge sums of money. How did a bout between two online personalities become one of the most talked-about fights of the year? KSI and Logan Paul pose for the cameras ahead of their Sky Sports Box Office fight Logan Paul will have weight on his side when he takes on KSI in this weekend's eagerly-awaited showdown at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Sky customers: Buy Logan Paul vs KSI 2 Non-Sky customers: Buy Logan Paul vs KSI 2 The two YouTube stars, who have 40 million subscribers between them, will fight as professionals for the first time, without headguards and wearing 10oz gloves, in a six-round cruiserweight contest on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Logan Paul was first on the scales during Friday's weigh-in and came in just inside the 200lb cruiserweight limit at 199.4lbs, while KSI was over 6lbs lighter at 193.2lbs. "I'm kind of done talking, it's time to let my fists talk," said Logan Paul after the pair shared a brief head to head. KSI countered: "It's over for him. He should have beat me in the last fight, that was his best opportunity. "Look at my team, my team is stacked. I've got Larry Wade, he's trained Shaw Porter and he's currently training Luis Ortiz. I've got Jeff Mayweather as my trainer as well. I've got Viddal Riley, Leon Williams, I've got Stitch Duran as my cut-man. "Look at the team, I'm stacked. He has Shannon Briggs, he has a hype-man. It's over for him, it's literally over for him." Billy Joe Saunders takes on Marcelo Esteban Coceres Billy Joe Saunders had no problem making the super-middleweight limit ahead of his WBO title defence against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. The former WBO middleweight champion tipped the scales at 167.4lbs, while undefeated Argentine Cocreres weighed 168lbs ahead of his first world title tilt and first fight outside of South America. "Saturday night I'm going to put on a good show, hopefully a knockout," said Saunders. "You can see silky skills, the best from the UK." Devin Haney faces Alfredo Santiago in LA Devin Haney was on the lightweight limit ahead of the first defence of his WBC crown against Alfredo Santiago. The undefeated American, who was handed the title by the WBC after Vasily Lomachenko was declared 'Franchise' champion last month, came in at 135lbs "I'm looking forward to putting on a great performance, he won't last 12 rounds," said Haney. "I'm the youngest world champion in boxing and on Saturday I'll prove I'm the best in the world." Undefeated Puerto Rico-based Dominican Santiago also weighed 135lbs. 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. THE countdown is well and truly on to Logan Paul's eagerly awaited rematch with KSI. After their amateur bout in Manchester last year, the pair now head to Los Angeles and ditch the helmets to go toe-to-toe as professionals this weekend. KSI and Logan Paul will weigh in tonight, with the fight taking place tomorrow evening. The event from the XBOX Plaza in LA is open to the public and begins 9pm UK time - 4pm ET and 1pm PT. You can watch all the action on the DAZN YouTube channel.