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The Influencers Are Coming…FaZe Temper Leads Boxing’s Newest Trend

In 2020, Jake Paul was mocked, but then met with acceptance with his emergence into our fringe sport of boxing. Paul lives the sport of boxing and opened doors for equitable treatment of fighters, and was a marquee reason that Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano happened. Paul being one of the biggest influences in terms of the social media landscape set a new market trend. Paul is a role model for many, and now – it seems a coming of age for most popular YouTuber and internet personalities to become pro boxers. Even if they’re not cordinated, talented or healthy for that matter.

It is the irony we see in the modern world. It is why many influencers and YouTubers have so much success – sarcasm, and odd quirk. Typically, nerdy and socially awkward people have weaponized the internet to build a following that buys into their catchphrases and content, but now are creating a dichotomy. Not unlike how Batman exists as Bruce Wayne and Batman in two different planes of existence often symbolized by day-to-night, YouTubers are now taking to fighting to prove themselves in an ironic sense filming their struggles, and triumphs as a pro boxers. As the failures of professional boxing have opened the door for successful self-promoters to overtake talented fighters with world-class accolades.

DAZN has signed Misfits Boxing, KSI’s boxing outfit to a five-year deal. In short, this isn’t going away – in fact, Misfits Boxing quite possibly could be the most active form of boxing on DAZN in a few years.

The flaw Paul saw in boxing’s marketing is now being exploited by a younger generation, who knows how to speak to a wide group of people, and how to communicate in different forms of multimedia. This makes me wonder if are we entering a world in which talent is only part of the equation in boxing?

The promo for KSI versus FazE Temperrr looked similar to that of an ad I would see running during cartoons that used to air during the 3:30-5:00 PM cartoon block that I would see as a child. It was simple, it was sarcastic, and it seemed to be highly effective.

Temperrr, real name Thomas Oliveira, is the leader of The Faze Clan. The Faze Clan became a thing at the beginning of the last decade, 2010, when a lot of young men, were playing Call of Duty, a popular online video game, they were creating viral content with trick shots that were being shared at the advent of social media. When asking young people about Temperrr their faces lit up. It is like they have known him for most of their adult life, and have a fondness for what he has provided to their life.

Though I have never followed the FaZe clan, it is clear they appear to be the New York Yankees of eSports competitive gaming, and beyond that – they seem to be making power moves year after year. Though FazE Temperrr doesn’t mean much to me, more people know who he is more than likely than say Jordan Spieth, someone who I seemingly would expect most of the United States to know.

Though to be fair FaZe Temperrr has 1.6 million Twitter followers, were as Spieth has 2 million, I would be curious what the age demographics are in those followers and which ad agencies would like to invest in.

Temperrr is fighting KSI on pay-per-view, an alarming trend that anything somewhat relevant is hidden behind a paywall these days. KSI is probably in the elite tier of influencer boxers, as he holds a win over Logan Paul, a real athlete, and has been at the forefront of doing semi-pro boxing since it popped up. KSI has invested in himself, and is one of the top-tier fighters in this awkward sub-genre of boxing, that is incredibly profitable.

As for the fight itself.

Temperrr has fought three times and been stopped in one of those fights, a six-foot, four-inch southpaw, who took these fights on a few weeks’ notice when Dillon Danis, a BJJ practitioner, who is struggling to stay active, pulled out of the fight. Danis seemingly was promoted by DAZN’s social media for years now, as he serves as a celebrity troll account, as he is an inactive fighter, who was once a training partner of Conor McGregor. Danis pulling out of a fight against KSI, a rather green fighter, probably kills all of Danis’ credibility as a reputable fighter at this point.

Temperrr enters the fight with KSI with a bigger following and Temperrr will “dare to be great” as he moves from light heavyweight up to cruiserweight, KSI’s division.

It feels like the traditional KSI fight, interesting in theory but predictable in nature. KSI made headlines last year by defeating two hand-selected opponents in one night. One being a journeyman professional to add to the luster. Something that sounds much more impressive unless you have seen a professional boxer spar, in which often they fight two-to-three people at a higher level in the gym weekly.

The scary part of influencer boxing is it if feels like orgins of professional wrestling repeating themselves, as I hope the integrity of the sport is kept at all times, as a lot of the bouts are exhibition bouts, which I believe, though did not research are held to a different standard by the regulatory bodies (though I did no research).

The novelty of influencer boxing is the marketing is much better. The selling points are much louder and to someone who knows no better – it is way more engaging.

These fighters/influencers are actually promoting the fight, telling stories, and building content as well as story arches around their fights. It seems with networks no longer investing in boxing like they once did, it is rare to see fighters take the responsibility for creating content. You can look at Cris “Cyborg” as the gold standard of a fighter who has built a production company around her career – it matters, and the influencers understand that.

We’re in new times as people like The Faze Clan and KSI impact the world far greater than most pro boxers, so even if they want to fight as a social experiment, companies like DAZN have lost a lot of money during the pandemic, and these type of fights will be budgeted for as long as they bring in dividends.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle