By Ben Morse, CNN
(CNN) — Barbs have been exchanged. Cake has been thrown. A lawsuit has even been filed.
The build up to Saturday’s fight card – headlined by KSI vs. Tommy Fury and Logan Paul vs. Dillon Danis – has been anything but low-key.
The high-profile double-header has garnered huge interest online – the quartet have a combined following of over 17 million on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Misfits Boxing, the promotors of the event, told CNN that general sale of the tickets sold out within an hour, with the whole night being sold out in a week.
How to watch
The quartet will take to the ring on Saturday, October 14, at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. local time (2 p.m ET), with the main event starting approximately five hours later.
Coined ‘The Prime Card,’ the night will be broadcast worldwide exclusively on DAZN via its pay-per-view service.
Boxing involving non-traditional fighters has come a long way since it began to gain traction as a form of entertainment in 2018, when KSI beat Joe Weller in the first official fight between two YouTubers.
The fights are now professional, global broadcasters are showing them and it has sucked in all manner of global stars, from Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Anderson Silva.
In short, it has transformed from a one-off exercise in brand building and physical exertion into a viable career option.
It all began with Olajide “KSI” Olatunji. The now 30-year-old is a British gamer, vlogger and rapper who started out on YouTube, but has focused on his boxing career in recent years, turning professional in 2019, though he does not hold a pro licence in the UK.
He has an unblemished record to his name after five fights, as well as also being one of the founders of Misfits Boxing, the leading boxing promoter in events involving YouTubers and fighters who have large internet followings.
KSI will take to the ring against Fury, who comes from a boxing family – he is the half-brother of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury – but shot to fame after his appearance on the British reality dating show “Love Island.”
An undefeated professional fighter, Fury defeated YouTuber Jake Paul – Logan’s brother – earlier this year in their long-awaited clash in Saudi Arabia.
In the second of the double-header, Logan Paul makes his return to boxing, two years after fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an exhibition fight.
Like KSI, Paul also became well-known because of his presence on the internet, but has more recently blossomed into a rising star in the world of wrestling entertainment on WWE.
Meanwhile, Danis is a mixed martial artist, known for his friendship with Conor McGregor and for the skirmish involving Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 which saw Nurmagomedov suspended from the octagon for nine months and fined $500,000 after he attacked Danis.
Years in the making
The build up to the Paul-Danis fight has been years in the making and is one which has threatened to spill overboard at times.
A fight between Danis and Paul’s younger brother, Jake, had previously been touted, but it is the elder brother Logan who will step into the ring with the 30-year-old instead.
But to add confusion to the occasion, Danis stated on social media Friday that the fight was no longer going ahead after claiming on X that Paul “missed weight.” However, Paul responded on X: “You wish. See you tomorrow,” while a spokesperson for DAZN confirmed to CNN that the fight was to take place as planned.
The lead up to the fight has been overshadowed by a lawsuit filed by Paul’s fiancée, Nina Agdal, against Danis for a slew of images he has posted on social media, including some photos which appear to have been digitally altered, often in an attempt to criticize the model’s past relationships.
In September, Agdal filed a lawsuit against Danis for “revenge porn,” saying that his posts have caused her to “suffer humiliation, emotional distress, and reputational harm.”
A boxing fight between Paul and Danis is a relatively new foray for both men, although they both have experience in other areas of physical combat – Paul was a talented wrestler at high school.
Danis is undefeated in his two professional MMA fights, although he hasn’t fought since 2019 as he’s dealt with injuries and personal issues.
At the final press conference ahead of the fight, the occasion perhaps unsurprisingly boiled over as it ended with heavy trash talk and chaos.
Boxing for legitimacy
While Danis and Paul don’t have a long history of boxing matches, the same cannot be said about Fury and KSI.
Boxing is in Fury’s blood, while KSI has gone to great lengths to transform himself from YouTuber and musician into a full-time boxer.
Fury is coming off the back of a breakthrough victory in his career, beating Jake Paul earlier this year, while KSI has five bouts to his name, winning four and the most recent being declared a no contest due to an accidental elbow strike.
This six-round cruiserweight fight for Fury is a further step at legitimizing his own boxing career and attempt to make strides outside of the shadow of his elder half-brother.
KSI appears to have fully embraced the transition from one of the UK’s most popular YouTube stars into boxing.
And now, with a paid-up member of the boxing fraternity across the ring from him, he has an opportunity to earn himself some further plaudits.
“I came back to boxing to show the world the crazy levels I’m at. I’ve shown through obliterating all my past opponents that I am the best in this scene,” KSI said before the fight.
“KO after KO has now led me to the toughest fight in the influencer boxing scene. I’m fighting Tommy Fury. The man that defeated the once undefeated Jake Paul is now my opponent and I can’t wait to silence all the doubters that believe I have no chance. After this fight, you’ll understand that I truly am that guy.”
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