Misfits boxing- what place do the influencers have in the sport?

Ahead of Misfits X series 004 tonight, we take a look at the organisation which is causing a stir within the boxing community. Some love it, some hate it and it has certainly sparked a debate!

KSI‘s Misfits returns for its fourth outing this evening with the man himself headlining against fellow youtuber Faze Temper. The venture, promoted by Wasserman’s Kalle Sauerland, appears to be going from strength to strength after announcing its 5 year exclusivity deal with global streaming service DAZN. Its first outing last August drew in an audience of 2 million, 90% of which were first time subscribers to DAZN!

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It has drawn a difference of opinions to say the least in the boxing community with many die hard boxing fans and ex pro’s slating it for having any sort of place in the sport. Many are upset and feel it make’s a mockery of boxing and is taking up slots that could ordinarily be occupied by cards with real fighters, real professionals who rely on it to make a living, something the influencers certainly do not!

The other aspect surrounding it is the safety of the participants. We are putting two inexperienced people in the ring and pitting them against one another with very limited training. Surely its only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt and if that does happen, how do they answer to it? Some would argue is this any different to white collar boxing and the debate goes on.

On the flip side, you see the likes of WWE which although a staged wrestling industry, still see’s many injuries to its superstars. Despite this it is watched by millions due to it’s pantomime aspect and this is what we are seeing with Misfits. With that being said, maybe it has found its place in its own right as its own entity and doesn’t need to blur the lines with the professional outfits.

There is no denying the huge draw it brings with a generation of young people attending and talking about their favourite youtubers fighting one another. Maybe this allows for a crossover between influencer and professional boxing as maybe the Misfits fans will start to watch more mainstream boxing, brining more eyes into the sport.

I have read posts from parents who have said their child has wanted to take up boxing due to seeing the likes of KSI, Deji and Salt Papi taking to the ring. This can only be a good thing if it is getting kids out there exercising and possibly aspiring to be boxers surely?

Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, who are also global partners with DAZN, are never going to put on a show to clash on its own platform. It just will not happen and others have been reluctant to compete too which is where I think the main issue lies. If it brings in a big audience of subscribers then as a business, DAZN are right to cash in on that. We all want to see more boxing shows and there needs to be a way the two can coexist without one causing detriment to the other. If that can happen then surely there is very little to take issue with?

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One fight rumoured to be in the works is Jake Paul vs KSI for later in the year. Jake is a fundamental factor in the influencer boxing scene taking off in the first place and with their army of followers, it will likely do numbers that will blow most of, if not all other 2023 boxing shows out of the water!

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The debate will rage on and will no doubt reignite every time there is a misfits show, which DAZN have currently scheduled for 6 events a year. One thing for sure is it is going nowhere whether boxing purists are on board or not!

By Lee Browne

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