The GuardianThe Guardian

KSI, Logan Paul, Salt Papi: The influencers redefining boxing for the TikTok generation

By Will Coldwell

05 Mar 2023 · 12 min read

Editor's Note

Celebrity boxing has been around for decades, but as the Guardian reports, YouTubers and TikTok stars are adding a new twist by going toe-to-toe with the pros to get rich and gain new followers.

Salt Papi, real name Busta Breezie, is a 28-year-old with slick dance moves, a pencil moustache and a mean left hook. He was born in the Philippines, moved to the UK as a teenager, and won fame – and a stage name – with his TikTok videos that parody Salt Bae, the celebrity Turkish chef known for ostentatiously sprinkling salt over meals. That, and videos in which he pretends to be running in slow motion. Papi used to be the “chubby” kid at school – fast food was his jam. Now he’s licking his lips as he dances around a boxing ring in Wembley Arena with Josh Brueckner, a YouTuber and MMA fighter with a cut-glass jaw and abs coming out of his ears.

It’s not boxing as you know it, but Wembley Arena is packed – 10,000 people on the edge of their seats. We’re midway through an undercard that features a string of match-ups between vloggers, TikTok stars, _Love Island-_ers and OnlyFans creators. It will culminate in a headline bout between KSI, the 29-year-old rapper, YouTuber and co-owner of the energy drink Prime, and FaZe Temperrr, a pro Call of Duty player and co-owner of one of the world’s biggest esports organisations, FaZe Clan. “Watch it,” KSI told me in the days leading up to the fight, acknowledging the anarchy of the operation, “It’s all over the place.”

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