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Salt Papi says Jake Paul, KSI, and other influencer boxers are smart to duck him: ‘I would be scared, too’

Salt Papi is having a hard time finding fights these days.

The burgeoning influencer boxing scene is dominated by two individuals: Jake Paul and KSI. But over the past year, Salt Papi — given name Nathanial Bustamante — has risen up the ranks and made a case to be considered the most skilled influencer boxer with a series of sublime performances. Most recently, Papi knocked out former MMA fighter and 2-0 influencer boxer Josh Brueckner with a devastating left hand back in January. That knockout earned high praise from professional boxers Ryan Garcia and Sunny Edwards who suggested he has the tools to make it as a legitimate boxer, but it also created a problem for Papi: no one wants to fight him.

“That’s what’s happening right now,” Papi told Arield Helwani on The MMA Hour. “All the influencers don’t want smoke. They don’t want the smoke, that’s why I have to fight real fighters. They’re just scared. They’re scared of my knockout punching power. They don’t want to go to sleep. I also like a real challenge, so that’s why I’m fighting this guy.

“I would be scared as well if I was them. If I see this guy knocking out Josh Brueckner, 6’1”, MMA fighter, just like that with one punch, I would be scared, too.”

Like Brueckner, Papi’s next opponent is another former MMA fighter, Anthony Taylor, who amassed a 7-5 MMA record, much of that in Bellator, before moving into the influencer boxing space. Should Papi win, it will be his third victory under the Misfits Boxing banner and he hopes that eventually the bigger names in influencer boxing will come around to the idea of facing him.

“Hopefully KSI, Jake Paul, or Tommy Fury [would be next], but it’s always up to them,” Papi said. “It’s up them at the end of the day... “I believe KSI likes competition and he said he will knock out everybody.

“I don’t really care too much. I just want to keep fighting for now, while I’m healthy. Make as much money and have fun, really. I’m just having fun.”

Papi acknowledges that with only slightly more than a year in the fight game, he still has a long way to go as far as being a professional. When asked to rank the top influencer boxers, he put Paul as No. 1 and KSI as No. 2, admitting were he to fight either right now, he may lose. However, he does think those fights will happen eventually, and when they do, he believes both Paul and KSI will need to be cautious.

“I think when they fight me, it’s going to be a chess match,” Papi said. “They’re not going to charge on me. They know what I can do.”

And when his boxing career is all said and done, Papi says that before his time is up, he definitely wants to try his hand at MMA as well.

“Maybe Misfits can start another fighting company,” Papi said. “I would like to get into MMA in the future, when the boxing is finished, I’ve got nothing else to do, I’ll do MMA. I’ve got the hands already.”

Salt Papi takes on Anthony Taylor at Misfits Boxing 7 on May 13 at Wembley Arena in London.

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