Upsets are common in boxing but not many predicted this one. talkSport report that KSI vs. Logan Paul II outdid Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz in terms of pay-per-view (PPV) buys in the UK. “It’s the biggest pay-per-view in the UK of the year so far," proclaimed renowned promoter Eddie Hearn, who promoted the event. "That includes the first Joshua-Ruiz fight from America."
Hearn even boasted that KSI vs. Logan Paul II is now "the most-viewed fight on DAZN so far," though the sports streaming site hasn't released official numbers just yet. But Hearn is confident that the match was, indeed, a smashing success. “We wanted to showcase to this audience what’s great about the sport," Hearn pointed out, "and those guys — KSI and Logan Paul Alfredo Santiago — ended up showcasing it."
The fact that KSI vs. Logan Paul II outsold Joshua-Ruiz I is not that surprising. After all the first exhibition between KSI and Logan Paul, held in August of last year, reportedly sold 1.2 million PPV buys worldwide. Given their Internet-fuelled popularity (KSI's and Logan's channels each have over 20 million subscribers) it's not too much of a stretch that both men have a faithful following, and that a handful of their fans would pay to see them in action. Not to mention both the first match and the rematch were priced much cheaper than the Joshua-Ruiz PPV.
However, it is a stretch to call the fight a showcase for boxing. KSI escaped with a hard-earned decision, but the fight was devoid of the boxing you would see in the professional ranks. Good thing then that some real boxing took place on the undercard. Billie Joe Saunders defended his WBO super middleweight title against Marcelo Esteban Coceres via a dramatic 11th round stoppage. WBC lightweight kingpin Devin Haney, on the other hand, dominated Alfredo Santiago en route to a unanimous decision win.
In contrast, the Joshua-Ruiz title fight in June was a true showcase for the sport — two talented heavyweights in a war of attrition. Joshua, the odds-on favorite, started strong. But Ruiz, the heavy underdog, picked up the pace beginning in round 3. He kept pushing forward, repeatedly slipping past Joshua's long arms to launch two-fisted attacks on the inside. In the seventh round, Ruiz stepped up a gear, and pulled off the improbable. He knocked Joshua down twice, and forced the referee to call the fight off. Ladbrokes states how Joshua’s defeat at the hands of Ruiz was one of the biggest upsets in combat sports history, as the imposing Englishman was expected to impress in his U.S. debut. But the erstwhile unbeaten ex-Olympian underperformed, and fortunately only 500,000 or so UK fans tuned in to see the Joshua-Ruiz I PPV.
This December Ruiz and Joshua are set for their own rematch. It will be held in Saudi Arabia, at a new 16,000-seat outdoor stadium in Diriyah. Given the result of their previous fight, it would be interesting to see if Joshua-Ruiz II can outperform KSI vs. Logan II in PPV buys this time.