The likes of Donny Osmond, Vanilla Ice, Dustin Diamond and Ricky Gervais have all tried their hand at boxing over the years, but “Celebrity Boxing” is now bigger than ever.
In 2018, KSI and Logan Paul’s matchup caused a real storm, and boxers have now tapped into the potential, with some celebrity names helping professional fights generate some much-needed funds.
We take a look at where celebrity boxing started and have a look at some of the most significant bouts over the years.
Osmond and Bonaduce Laid Down the Marker
American actors Donny Osmond and Danny Bonaduce shared a ring back in 1994. The duo worked out at the same gym in Chicago, and they agreed to a three-round boxing bout.
Sadly, their match was not one for the purists, and neither man was able to showcase their skills, with Bonaduce winning a split decision.
While it wasn’t a fight for the ages, “Celebrity Boxing” was now a thing, but more big names did not get involved until the early 2000s.
The Launch of Celebrity Boxing
Celebrity Boxing launched in 2002 on FOX, and the show pitched celebrities against each other in exhibition boxing matches.
Without being rude, it is far to say those involved needed a PR boost, but only two episodes of the show were aired, with TV Guide ranking it at number six on its TV Guide’s “50 Worst TV Shows of All Time” list.
Bonaduce returned to beat Barr Williams, while Vanilla Ice, Tonya Harding, William Perry and “Chyna” all tried their hand at combat sports.
In the UK, Celebrity Boxing for Sport Relief also grabbed the headlines, with the likes of Bob Mortimer, Les Dennis, Lemar and Ben Shephard all getting involved.
NBA star Shaquille O’Neil even had a crack at pugilism, only to lose to welterweight superstar Shane Mosley in 2020.
Youtube Stars Changed the Game
While Celebrity boxing has been around for decades, it has never been as strong as it is now.
Youtubers KSI and Logan Paul kickstarted the trend, while Logan’s brother Jake faced Deji on the same card in 2018.
Boxing promoters are now tapping into their potential and hype and using it to build the names of their own fighters.
KSI and Logan Paul drew their first fight at the Manchester Arena, with their bout viewed by over 2.25 million people. KSI saw his hand raised in November 2019 in their rematch, while Logan Paul has since faced Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Their bout earlier this month was classed as a no-contest, but other big-name celebs may fancy their chances in the coming years.
Big names can earn vast sums of money while lacing up the gloves, and the evidence suggests that fans love seeing their favourite stars try to showcase their skills inside the ring.
*All odds correct at time of writing