Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

KSI wins split decision over fellow YouTuber Logan Paul

KSI and Paul, with a combined 40 million subscribers on their YouTube channels, settled their long-standing grudge with both men taking a trip to the canvas

KSI beat Logan Paul in front of a packed-out Staples Center in Los Angeles in a fight billed as the biggest boxing event of the year.

KSI and Paul, with a combined 40 million subscribers on their YouTube channels, settled their long-standing grudge as both men took a trip to the canvas, with the British fighter taking a split decision over his American opponent on the judges' scorecards

KSI had the better of the opening exchanges before Paul was deducted two points for punching KSI on the back of the head as his opponent was on his way to the mat in Round 4.

The two-point deduction in a six-round fight proved crucial, with two judges awarding the fight to KSI 57-54 and 56-55 and one judge scoring it 56-55 in Paul's favour.

KSI - whose real name is Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji - admitted in his ringside interview that he had been "scared" the last time the pair faced off, in an amateur contest in Manchester last year that ended in a draw, but that he was determined to rise to the occasion this time around.

"KSI last time out was scared. I was scared to fight close, scared to touch him. This time I just kept going and going," he told Sky Sports.

"Your boy has done good – victorious. I’m a dog, I keep saying it. He hit me hard but it is was it is.

"I don’t want to stop. I don’t want people to think I'm weak and I can't take punches because I am a fighter. I felt good.

"I've never worked so hard, in the ring and at camp. He couldn’t deal with the jabs.

"It takes a big man to get in the ring and you're [to Logan Paul] a big man. You made me work and thank you for a good fight."

American Paul, who enjoyed the lion's share of support from the LA crowd that included celebrities such as Justin Bieber, was gracious in defeat, saying: "Fair play to KSI. You are one of the toughest people I know.

"There's respect here. All the talk, It’s all for selling and I wish you the best."

Inevitably, talk has already started of a third installment of the KSI-Paul trilogy.

"I’d love to fight KSI again - these are the best moments of my life. The more I practise in the box the more I feel comfortable," Paul said, adding that he disagreed with the verdict and he would speak to the California State Athletic Commission about the decision to award KSI the victory.

On the undercard, unbeaten Devin Haney successfully defended his WBC lightweight title for the first time with a unanimous decision over Alfredo Santiago.

American Haney, who turns 21 next week, knocked Santiago down in the fifth round of a surprisingly close fight.

This was Haney's first defence of the 135-pound title which was given to him after it was vacated by top-ranked Vasiliy Lomachenko who was then awarded new title of WBC "franchise champion".

Haney won every round on the judges' scorecards but Santiago made him work for the victory. All three judges scored it 120-107 for Haney, who was the heavy favourite going into the bout but couldn't give the American boxing crowd the knockout they were craving.

Haney said after the fight that he thought he dislocated his right shoulder in the fight but couldn't remember in which round.

"It was bad the whole fight," he said of the shoulder. "I am not sure what round but he was on the ropes and I threw a right hand.

"He was very crafty. I went in there and got the win. We received this opponent on a week notice."

Santiago was knocked down by a right uppercut late in the fifth round but got up at the count of eight and survived the final 13 seconds of the round.

British boxer Billy Joe Saunders retained his world title by beating Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres in a technical knockout.

In what was his first fight in America, the super-middleweight was hoping to make the most of his opportunity on the undercard of KSI's rematch with Paul.

But the crowd was not impressed with the slow pace, and the fight was greeted with silence and occasional booing.

In the 11th round, though, Saunders found his form and dropped Coceres three times before the Englishman was declared the winner on a TKO.

"There's no excuse, that performance was not worthy of Canelo or any of the other big names," Saunders said.

"I knew by round nine that I had to get him out of here. My timing wasn't right, my head wasn't right, nothing was right.

"I'm not one for excuses. I needed to let him gas out then attack.

"I've got the win and I've got to thank the American fans and I hope they tune in again because that wasn't the best of me."

Updated: November 10, 2019 01:12 PM

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