We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Social media boosts coverage and revenue for local boxers

Mbenge says traditional boxing was left behind

Thulani Mbenge towers over Kuvesa Katembo of the DRC during their ABU welter weight title bout.
Thulani Mbenge towers over Kuvesa Katembo of the DRC during their ABU welter weight title bout.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Crossover boxing’s modern history, which features internet creators and social media influencers, is creating a landscape that is going to leave traditional boxing behind for what it is, a bit of a bore.

That is how popular SA welterweight champ Thulani “Evolution” Mbenge views the era where social media has become more prevalent in boxing.

He says influencers bring in new fans and increase revenue, and also generate increased media coverage, introducing boxing to fans of other sports.

American social media influencer Logan Pauls exhibition bout with former multiple world champ Floyd Mayweather Junior attracted 25,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium in June 2021.

That bout reportedly sold over one million pay-per-views buys. Logan has more than 23-million subscribers on YouTube and over 23-million followers on Instagram.

In SA a promoter is lucky to welcome 2,500 fans in an arena but the celebrity match between ace rapper Cassper Nyovest and celebrated actor NaakMusiq attracted 3,000 fans at the Sun City Bowl.

Mbenge is active on YouTube and Tik Tok.

He said: Look at personalities that attended the heavyweight fight between reigning WBC world heavyweight champ Tyson Fury (who earned $50m) and former mixed martial arts champ Francis Ngannou (paid $10m) in Saudi Arabia last weekend, and tell me how they knew about it.

It was attended by giant American rappers, actors, television producer and businessmen Curtis James Jackson III, known professionally as 50 Cent, and Marshall Bruce Mathers III, known professionally as Eminem.

The former IBO champ said he was known out there as a brand and not as a boxer because of his video recordings he sent out on social platforms to introduce himself as a brand.

Sean (Smith who is Mbenge;s trainer) posted a video where I was shadow boxing in the gym and he received an immediate response from a lady who said she is the ambassador of Dion, he said.

She suggested a meeting to discuss how she can get me working with them as a brand. People no longer watch TV like they used to but they just log on to all the apps to pick and  choose what they want to see.

The more influencers in boxing, the better for boxers in terms of publicity, sponsors and monetary remunerations.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.