The rise of KSI, the 25-year-old YouTube millionaire who is fighting Logan Paul in a professional boxing match

Here we go again.

KSI, the 26-year-old British YouTube star, is set to face off against controversial vlogger Logan Paul once again in a YouTube celebrity boxing match. The pair will battle it out on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which holds 21,000 people. And this time, they'll be classified as professional boxers.

YouTube boxing matches are a hot new trend, kickstarted by KSI. Although the British vlogger first made his name playing video games on YouTube, he's pioneered boxing events as a way to whip up famous YouTubers' huge followings. The real-life matches could generate millions of pounds in ticket, merchandise, and streaming sales.

Here's how KSI, real name Olajide “JJ” William Olatunji, went from a suburban London upbringing to becoming one of the biggest YouTube stars in the world.

KSI was born in London, after his parents moved to the UK from Nigeria. “They would work their asses off,” he told The Sun in an interview.

KSI/YouTube

He eventually moved with his parents out to the suburbs of Watford and went to a fee-paying school. It would now cost you £20,000 ($26,000) a year to send your child to the “posh” Berkhamsted School.

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Despite the expensive education, KSI said he discovered YouTube from the age of about 15 and ended up failing his A-Levels. “Back then, people would be like: 'What are you doing? You're such a weirdo. Why are you making videos online?'” he told the Sun.

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He created his first YouTube channel in his early teens, the now-defunct “JideJunior.” Almost all the videos feature KSI playing “FIFA 08,” a theme that would continue in his main YouTube channel.

FIFA 18.
EA

Eventually, JJ would adopt the name “KSI”, which stands for “Knowledge, Strength, Integrity.”

KSI/YouTube

The Sidemen would go on to live together in various plush houses in London. Their latest is a mansion at an undisclosed location in South London. It's thought that's where KSI lives.

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He's a young millionaire, with estimated annual earnings of up to £1.5 million, according to SocialBlade.

TV presenter Piers Morgan with KSI.

GMB/YouTube

Asked about his wealth by TV presenter Piers Morgan, he said: “I'm doing alright.”

KSI also branched out into music, posting “diss” tracks insulting other YouTubers – including his fellow Sidemen. The drama keeps viewers hooked.

KSI/YouTube

KSI's younger brother Deji is also on YouTube, posting under the name ComedyShortsGamer. The two often cross over into each other's channels.

ComedyShortsGamer, KSI's brother.

ComedyShortsGamer/YouTube

KSI and Deji's relationship sometimes grows turbulent. The brothers feuded on Twitter on Christmas after KSI was allegedly thrown out of their family home.

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KSI pioneered a new genre of crossover: The YouTube boxing match.

Joe Weller.

Joe Weller/YouTube

His first fight was against Joe Weller, a YouTube creator on the same talent network (OP Talent).

The YouTube boxing match involves two famous personalities fighting each other just like a real match. KSI fought Weller in London's Copper Box Arena in 2017 and won the fight.

KSI/YouTube

Here's the full fight:

The two whipped up anticipation for the fight in a bad-tempered press conference in London, in which KSI hurled insults at Paul's girlfriend and family.

Logan Paul/YouTube

The fight was a majority draw, with two judges giving the YouTubers equal points and a third giving the edge to KSI.

YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul boxing on August 28, 2018.
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21,000 people packed out the stadium to watch the fight, and over 800,000 people watched it via YouTube's pay-per-view service.

Logan Paul in action against KSI at Manchester Arena on August 25, 2018.
REUTERS/Tom Jacobs

Business Insider calculated the match generated as much as $11 million in revenue.

KSI and Logan Paul's younger brothers, Deji and Jake Paul, also fought.

KSIvsLogan/YouTube

Jake Paul won the match after five rounds.

The two organized a rematch, which is due to take place on Saturday in LA at 8 p.m.

DAZN / Matchroom Sport

The second match is taking place in a more professional setting. Neither of the fighters will wear headgear, and both will be drug-tested.

DAZN / Matchroom Boxing

Both men have professional boxers' licenses.

The match is being promoted by Eddie Hearn, who has worked with boxing superstars like Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua (left) and Eddie Hearn.
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KSI and Anthony Joshua occasionally train together. KSI told Behind the Gloves that Joshua advised him to “train hard, remain focused and be calm” ahead of the fight.

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But KSI's main trainer is Jeff Mayweather, uncle of boxer Floyd Mayweather.

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The two YouTubers have been busily hyping up their fans for round two. In a press conference in September Paul mocked KSI's Christmas argument with his brother Deji and said he smelled “like herpes.”

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Justin Bieber has expressed support for Logan Paul.

Justin Bieber supports Logan Paul.
Ricky Vigil/GC Images

KSI responded: “Bieber's an idiot for backing Logan Paul… If he is gonna be at the fight I'll be sure to lock eyes with him so he can see his boy knocked out.” When asked if he'd ever fight Bieber he said: “No, that's stupid.”

KSI said he's successful because he creates new trends. “When it came to diss tracks I found my way into that,” he told Esquire. “Now with boxing, I’ve created a new trend. I’ve always adapted well, and that’s what’s led to my success.”

AP

SEE ALSO:

Logan Paul reveals his plans to become a professional boxer, release a music album, and try out TikTok in the future

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