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KSI talks Logan Paul boxing match and life outside YouTube on day before fight

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KSI
KSI
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  • KSI is the popular British YouTuber who is taking on
    fellow vloggers in real-life boxing matches.
  • He’s about to take on American YouTuber Logan Paul in a
    massive fight in Manchester, UK.
  • If he wasn’t a YouTube superstar, he would have gone to
    university and studied computer science, he told Business
    Insider in an interview ahead of the match.
  • Once he’s done fighting fellow YouTubers, he wants to
    fight a professional boxer.

KSI is one of the most famous people in the UK, though you
wouldn’t necessarily know it from the news channels.

He is the 25-year-old British YouTube star who became famous off
the back of gaming videos, but he’s reached new levels of fame by
taking on rival vloggers in real-life boxing matches. His first
bout was with fellow Brit Joe Weller, but his next is a much more
ambitious match against controversial US YouTuber Logan Paul.

The match takes place in Manchester, UK on Saturday 25
August and could draw up to 21,000 attendees, and hundreds of
thousands of viewers on YouTube.

You can read more about who KSI is and
his history of YouTube boxing here
, and
more analysis about who will win
the boxing match.

Business Insider travelled to Manchester to meet with KSI — real
name Olajide “JJ” Olatunji — to talk about his path to
fame, and his plans for a post-YouTube future. 

The KSI of YouTube is pretty abrasive. He’s known for making
off-colour jokes about sex and women, and his
pre-fight trash talk against Logan Paul
hasn’t exactly been
sportsmanlike. When Business Insider meets him, however, he’s
surprisingly calm, collected, and polite, shaking hands and
taking care to listen to questions.

Later in the day, the KSI persona would be back on show for the
pre-match weigh-in with his opponent. KSI came on-stage wearing a
mask of Chloe Bennett, Paul’s actress girlfriend. Bennett is a
sensitive topic,
given KSI has made lewd remarks about her before

Here’s our full interview with him, lightly edited for clarity.

Business Insider: What have you been up to over
the last few days?

KSI/JJ: I
don’t know, like, training. Doing pads, just the standard stuff.
A lot of the training has been before this week, making sure I’m
in the right mindset, and making sure we have fun and not
worrying about winning or losing.

BI: How are you feeling about it?

KSI: Yeah yeah yeah, very good.

BI: Is Logan in the UK at the moment?

KSI: Yeah yeah, Logan’s in the UK.

BI: Are you hanging out?

KSI: No. [Laughs]. No!

BI: Maybe you guys are friends behind the
scenes, I don’t know.

KSI: Really, no, no! Even with my last fight,
Joe [Weller], I still haven’t talked to Joe since the ring.


Vlogger Logan Paul and KSI.
Logan Paul and
KSI

Logan Paul /
YouTube


BI: Really? He’s been doing some analysis of you
[and Logan Paul].

KSI: Yeah, he loves it. He’s in a good spot
though.

BI:  Are you not on good terms?

KSI: No. I don’t like him. It’s annoying, he
might be at the afterparty. It’s a little bit awkward, but…

BI: You seem much more calm and normal in real
life.

KSI: Yes. Yeah, I’m not, like, shouting in
your face. On videos, you always have to be more entertaining. If
I was like this [indicates himself as he is, sitting
down
], people would be asleep.

BI: How do you gear yourself up to be the KSI on
video?

KSI: Normally I just… whenever there’s a
camera I know how to turn it up. Usually — I’ve been doing this
so many years — it’s just natural now.

BI: You’re in your early twenties. In a normal
world, you would have gone to uni, and you’d have graduated, but
clearly that hasn’t happened. What would the alternative JJ have
done?

KSI: I wanted to do computer science. I love my
gaming, I wanted to do anything to do with gaming. That’s why,
with the whole YouTube aspect, I went into that. When I saw that
you could make money playing games I thought, ‘This is a
Godsend.’ It’s exactly what I wanted to do. With the whole videos
and making entertaining videos and just… everything to do with
that was way more exciting than doing computer science and going
to uni and going for this whole hassle.


ksiYouTube/KSI

BI: You could have been the next Jeff Bezos.

KSI: [Laughs] No, no. Definitely not,
definitely not.

BI: What are your coolest gadgets?

KSI: I love all of that. But coolest gadget…
probably just an iPhone. My Nintendo DS, every now and then I
like a few oldies like the Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, all that.

BI: I guess you were maybe too young for the
N64.

KSI: What! I wasn’t too young! No! Of course I
played the N64. I used to always smash it out. Especially in
secondary school, all of us had a dorm and all of us would just
play Super Smash Bros or GoldenEye. But…obviously there’s lots
of better games now.

BI: Are you a Fortnite fan?

KSI: Nah not really. I mean it was cool at
first, before everyone knew how to start building, so now it’s
just you shoot someone and all of a sudden they build a mansion.
And then you’re like, ok, this sucks.

BI: You went to school in Berkhamsted. Are you
still in touch with your friends there?

KSI: One of my best friends, Simon, [Simon
Minter, known as Miniminter on YouTube] went to the same school.
We’ve stayed in touch, and we do the same thing now, which is
sick. It’s kinda hard with what I do, I’m always travelling, I’m
always doing something out of the ordinary. They’re doing a 9 to
5, so it’s hard to keep in touch. Every Christmas, I always go
back to my parents’ to see them, they live around there. So I
always just play football with them, and we go out as well. It’s
kind of like a reunion, seeing what’s going on. It always seems
like I’m doing the crazy stuff.

BI: What has YouTube fame let you do that you
couldn’t have otherwise done?

KSI: It has allowed me to do whatever I want,
really. Make a career out of anything. If I went down the
computer science route, I’d never be here. I feel like with
YouTube, it’s a core that lets you bounce off into various things
whether it’s movies or music or boxing, anything. It allows you
to do anything.


KSI
KSI boxing Joe
Weller

KSI/YouTube

BI: How did you get into YouTube boxing? Why is
this a thing?

KSI: It started with Joe Weller, man.

BI: And the concept of ‘beef’ right? [Beef is
where YouTubers have a dispute with each other]

KSI: Yeah, I guess that’s where it started. I
called him out as a joke on Instagram, saying I’d fight the
winner — he was fighting his mate — and then it just blew up from
there.

BI: This has all been hugely successful for you.
Do you feel the pressure to keep views up by doing really crazy
things?

KSI: No. I used to feel like that, but that’s
the worst way to go about things. For me, it didn’t make me
happy. I wasn’t happy just thinking ‘Oh, I need to do everything
for views.’ Because then it made me do things I didn’t actually
enjoy. Now I don’t care about views, I never look at [social
media statistics site] SocialBlade, I never look at how many
views or even the amount of money I’m getting, I hardly look at
that. It’s all about making sure I’m doing what I enjoy doing and
making sure I’m happy. That’s the most important thing. Happiness
is number one.

BI: But you’re still hoping for a decent chunk
of change out of this fight, no?

KSI: I’ve got to make sure my whole team eats
good as well.

BI: After this series of matches, would you
challenge another YouTuber?

KSI: I’d want to go pro. So, there would be no
headgear. It would be me fighting someone who is a professional
boxer. That would be the biggest test for me. Just a cool thing
to do, just to show people I used to be a FIFA gaming YouTuber,
but now I can go pro and beat a professional boxer. I used to
just be like a skinny dweeby kid, and now I’m doing this.

BI: What are you thinking for the long term?

KSI: I’m not thinking about it too much. I guess
I’m trying to enjoy the moment. Like the whole boxing thing, my
end goal is to go professional and go from there. Music has
always been a big thing, I’d love to go into acting, and see what
I can do there. I always like to see what I can do, and push
myself to the limit.

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