It’s mad how two people who earn a living by making videos on the internet can organize an event which the biggest white collar (amateur) boxing event of all time, and sells out a professional basketball teams stadium. In my opinion, the KSI v Joe Weller fight will be looked back on as the point YouTube became mainstream. Luckily I was there to witness it.
Before the big one, we were treated to several undercards between other YouTubers.
The first was between Exploring with Josh and Uosof Ahmadi. It was an indicator of what was to come, and probably more violent than many expected too, with arms swinging and defences abandoned. After the three fairly even two minute rounds, Ahmadi won on a points decision. Ahmadi who of course made his fame by hiding in Old Trafford overnight!
The second fight, between Liam and Jake Twin (aka TWiiNSANE) was poorer in comparison. There was a lot of energy involved but the two punched like kangaroos, actually rabbits. Liam, who won the bout, seemed to be retreating a lot but had the harder punches.
The third fight was between AnEsonGib and MaxPlays. AnEsonGib, or Ali, was really loving the walkout. On his channel he’s a bit of a character so it was no surprise.
Nevertheless, Ali was always going to win the bout, as he trained a lot harder and lost nearly 10 kilograms leading up to the fight. Max couldn’t deal with his powerful punching and halfway into the second round we had our first knockout, Ali with an uppercut while the Irishman was against the ropes.
The final fight on the undercard was the most uneven in terms of height and weight, with JMX weighing nearly 20 kilograms more than his opponent Mike Fox. Foxs’ only saving grace was that JMX could only punch with right hand after dislocating his left shoulder in the lead up to the fight.
Despite this, Mike literally chased JMX round the ring for the first few seconds. Order was soon restored with JMX clipping him on the side of the head a few times, but Fox kept plugging away and got in a couple of punches at the big man. As with the AnEsonGib fight, there was only going to be one winner, as JMX’s superior power meant the 19-year-old won by a technical knockout.
After the fight Fox proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes, so in a way, the 20-year-old was the real winner. Watching the livestream back, the True Geordie came out with a class bit of commentary at this point; “To a lot of people, this would be a big deal, for me, it’s a Saturday.”
The atmosphere turned up a good few notches for the main event, especially after the True Geordies trailer played on the big screen. Then you had the walk out music, Weller opting for the fast paced dance/West Brom music, while JJ came out to his own song, the slightly sinister “Uncontrollable”.
Joe Weller started very much on the defence, and it must have been about half a minute before he threw a punch. The way Weller counter-attacked did get the adrenalin going, but overall KSI ran the first round. It was a sign of things to come.
The second round was more of the same. As weird as it sounds, it’s hard to see them get hit because with Joe Weller, who I’ve been watching him for years and years, it does feel like your mate is in that ring getting punched. The second round ended with both fighters wrestling each other to the floor. Standard.
On the sides YouTubers were literally going mad. Bezinga was backing JJ with every punch, while Calfreezy, who was absolutely hammered, was smacking the mat. KSI opened the third round with a flurry of punches and it looked worrying for Weller. An uppercut from Joe was answered instantly with a left hook.
It’s no wonder to me that KSI knocked out his sparring partner after seeing some of the punches he threw before the TKO of Joe. When he did, cue every YouTuber and his dog running into the ring. Finally, KSI exclaims, “I’ve talked the talk, now I’ve walked the walk.”
Overall it was a weird experience, seeing all of the YouTubers not behind a screen. It was a who’s who really, and fairplay to the likes of Steven Tries, The True Geordie and Zerkaa, who stayed behind to take photos.