This is a bit of an odd week because there are no major MMA or boxing events this Super Bowl weekend — the coronavirus cancelled the Jose Ramirez vs. Viktor Postol card slated for China —but the biggest event is a Matchroom Boxing show on DAZN this Thursday from Miami, the site of Super Bowl 54.
While there are three legitimate world title fights on the card, with two of them figuring to be highly interesting and competitive, the match with the biggest potential to draw in subscribers to DAZN is yet another bout between two YouTube personalities.
For those of you who remember/wanted to forget KSI vs. Logan Paul 2, Logan’s brother Jake Paul is set to fight fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib (real name Ali Loui Al-Fakhri) in a six-round contest. Both men are making their professional debuts and obviously got their licenses to box.
Unlike KSI vs. Logan Paul 2, there is not as much fanfare, not nearly the amount of promotion, and it’s not even the main event. With that said, we are in a combat sports bubble and we’re not really the target audience. Jake Paul has 19.7 million YouTube subscribers, while AnEsonGib has 2.1 million. That’s the market DAZN is going after, casting a much wider net beyond the hardcore boxing fans who have the service in the first place.
Tuesday’s press conference generated 155k views on YouTube for Jake Paul’s channel, while AnEsonGib’s had 482,000. The “40 Days” preview has exceeded one million views on both of their channels. We may not care, but plenty of their fans within their circles do.
Whatever you think of the practice of dipping into the “celebrity boxing” well — it’s objectively horrible to watch from a purist’s point of view — the numbers for the last YouTube fight proved that it worked to some degree. KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 was the fifth most viewed sporting event on DAZN across all territories in which the streaming service operates. The announced attendance at Staples Center was 12,137, and the fanbase was clearly invested in the bout.
Is this repeatable? Is it sustainable? How much longer can it be justified? Before his latest legal troubles, former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown vs. Logan Paul was something DAZN was exploring. For Matchroom Boxing, who promoted KSI-Logan Paul 2 and will promote this fight, it is a promotion that is seeking to expand its reach in the United States, as well as push new subscribers for its content partner. Based off of Thomas Hauser’s report, DAZN’s US market has apparently underperformed in the subscription count.
The card as a whole is both very interesting and much better than the KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 undercard. Unified 122 lbs world titlist Danny Roman is taking on the hard-hitting Murodjon Akhmadaliev in a very compelling bout, IBF 130 lbs champion Tevin Farmer defends his title against JoJo Diaz, and the main event is WBO middleweight champ Demetrius Andrade takes on mandatory challenger Luke Keeler.
And yes, Bloody Elbow will cover all of it on January 30th, with a main card start time of 9 PM ET/6 PM PT.