For more than a year, KSI has chased a fight with Paul in what would almost certainly be the biggest fight in influencer boxing history. For KSI, the fight is the ultimate goal of his endeavors in the sport, having previously said he intends to retire once he beats Paul. Unfortunately for the British YouTuber, he’s still struggling to get that fight, and so when he faces Fury — the man who beat Paul earlier this year — on Oct. 14, KSI is using it as a a proxy for his rivalry with Paul, meaning this very well could be the final fight of his career.
“I’m out here having to fight Tommy Fury to indirectly show the world that I’m better than Jake Paul,” KSI said on The MMA Hour. “This is the levels I have to do. Do you know how many people were saying I won’t fight Tommy Fury? I’m too scared to fight Tommy Fury? I’m not good enough to fight Tommy Fury? Alright, the fight is done. I’m fighting Tommy Fury, now what? ‘Oh, he’s going to lose anyway. Doesn’t matter. Zero chance. Put all my money on Tommy Fury.’ I go in there and knock him out, ‘Oh well, it’s not a real fight anyway!’ There will always be an excuse. That’s just the game that this is and that’s why I feel like after Tommy Fury I might just leave it at that, because I’m not going to go chasing this guy.”
“I’d say eighty percent [that I retire after this],” KSI continued. “I’ve been trying to fight Jake for how long? And it’s just constant excuses and then it’s crazy, he tries to manipulate the audience to make it look like it’s my fault, that I’m the one that’s afraid to fight Jake, when I’m there like, ‘No. Let’s go. Let’s do it, finally.’ I’ve got legacy tattooed on my back. This is why I do what I do. It’s the final piece of the puzzle and he doesn’t want to give it to me, so I’m like, alright, cool, let me just indirectly beat you by beating Tommy.”
Of course, that retirement isn’t set in stone. Aside from his boxing career, KSI is also the promoter behind Misfits, the preeminent entity in influencer boxing. As the biggest star in his own promotion, KSI may find himself called back to the ring even after the Fury fight, but he’s adamant he would not do so as a cash grab. And future fights after Fury will be because something stands out to him.
“I did say [there is an] eighty percent chance of me stopping, but if there is something that gravitates me towards wanting to fight again and it’s a huge spectacle, then yeah, I’d be down,” KSI explained. “For me, it has to excite me. It has to personally excite me. I’m not here to try and make money fights. I don’t care.”
First things first though, KSI has to beat Fury.
The two face off later this year in the AO Arena in Manchester, England, and while both KSI and Paul are traditional influencers turned boxers, Fury is on the other side of that spectrum. The half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Tommy Fury is an undefeated boxer who became an influencer after appearing on the reality television show Love Island and scored the biggest win of his career when he took a split decision over Paul in their highly anticipated grudge match in February. In that fight, Fury’s significant edge in experience proved to be the difference, but KSI believes that won’t matter against him.
“What drives me more is showing my audience, showing everyone, showing the world, that no matter who you are, as long as you believe in yourself and work hard, you can do literally anything,” KSI said. “I want to prove to the world that Tommy Fury, a boxer who has boxed all his life, is going to be facing me, KSI, who was a YouTube gamer, did all these other random things, does boxing here and there, I’ve done boxing for way less years but I have the tenacity, the self-belief, the hard work, and I’m going to go in there, against the odds, and beat Tommy Fury.”
It’s a lot of confidence for someone who has only has four professional fights under his belt and whose most recent fight ended in a no-contest after he knocked opponent Joe Fournier out with an illegal elbow. But KSI doesn’t lack for confidence, saying that not only is he going to beat Fury, it’s going to be another knockout.
“You get to see me knock out Tommy Fury,” KSI said. “I don’t want to knock him out, I need to, because I feel like that will purely silence everyone. If I just win by points, everyone will be like, ‘Wow. Cool. Sick.’ But if I knock him out, everyone will be like, ‘Oh my f****** God, he’s the GOAT. No one can chat to him.’ And at that point I could walk around naked in England, no one could say nothing. Everyone would be like, ‘Yo, that’s KSI. Let him run around naked!’ [Laughs.]”
And once he does that, what else is there to do? Because as KSI puts it, he will then be the ultimate influencer boxer.
“When I knock out Tommy Fury, I will be the final boss,” KSI said. “I feel like right now, the final boss is Tommy Fury. Tommy Fury has infiltrated and taken that crown from Jake Paul. So I’m about to take it back.”