Mike Tyson believes the sport of boxing owes a debt of gratitude to YouTubers such as Jake Paul and KSI because ‘UFC was kicking our butt’.
‘Iron Mike’ ended his 15-year absence from the ring on Saturday night when he battled to a draw against Roy Jones Jr in their exhibition fight.
Prior to the main event, former two-weight world champion Badou Jack battled to an unconvincing decision against club level fighter Blake McKernan in a bout which never caught fire.
However, the chief main support proved to be the most explosive bout of the night as Paul extended his pro boxing record to 2-0 with a sickening second-round KO of Nate Robinson.
‘The Problem Child’ left the former NBA superstar out cold on the canvas after a barrage of powerful right hands, with Tyson having nothing but praise for the YouTube generation who have brought a new audience to the sport.
“Well listen, my ego says so many things,” he said at the post-fight press conference.
“But my reality is, they help boxing so much; boxing owes these YouTube boxers some kind of respect.
“They should give them some belts because these guys make boxing alive. Boxing was pretty much a dying sport, UFC was kicking our butt.
“Now we got these YouTube boxers, with 25million views. Boxing is going back thanks to the YouTube boxers.”
Immediately after his victory over Robinson, Paul called out MMA duo Conor McGregor and his sparring partner Dillon Danis.
He told BT Sport: “There’s a long list of opponents that I want. Conor McGregor, Dillon Danis, I’m going to knock them both out.
“There’s my brother, there’s KSI on the line, Austin McBroom. I want to be in this sport a long time. I’m in love with it, so why not.”
Paul has long since been touted for a showdown with KSI, a fellow social media personality. KSI, who boasts 22.1m subscribers on YouTube, defeated Paul’s brother, Logan, in their fiery rematch last year.