Creator Clash is an influencer boxing event set to be held both online and in-person in Tampa Bay, Florida on May 14. The event will feature 18 streamers fighting in their first boxing matches ever, along with two matches between professional boxers, featuring play-by-play from several popular streamers and esports personalities.
YouTuber Ian “iDubbbz” Washburn has been at the center of Creator Clash since its inception. Most well known for his long-running series Content Cop, iDubbbz drastically re-oriented his content around boxing in the past two years, both practicing and studying the sport. Conceptualizing Creator Clash as a different kind of influencer boxing event back in March, iDubbbz has both guided the participating YouTubers into their first boxing foray as well as prepared for his headline matchup against Mike “Dr.Mike” Varshavski.
Dr.Mike, a Manhattan-based physician and YouTuber, boasts over 9 million subscribers, often posting content regarding his past medical experience. Matched up as iDubbbz’s main event opponent, Dr.Mike boasts over 10 years of boxing experience and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as iDubbbz’s direction with the event.
Only days ahead of Creator Clash, Dot Esports spoke with both main event fighters. Both iDubbbz and Dr.Mike gave their opinions on the state of influencer boxing in general, the training for the event, and their inevitable matchup.
Fighting against the current
Influencer boxing has proliferated over the past five years, with some of the most prevalent names in social media heading into the ring. Logan Paul’s matchup against KSI in 2018 is largely credited with initiating the trend, bringing in over 1.2 million viewers and generating a projected $3.5 million in ticket sales, according to Polygon.
Since this point, influencer boxing has massively evolved and pierced the veil into the mainstream sport. Logan Paul has squared off against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Jake Paul has boasted an undefeated record, and countless other premier content creators including the likes of Bryce Hall, Deji, and AnEnsonGib have taken to the sport.
Each event’s foray into the boxing scene has not been met with unequivocal success, however. The TikTokers vs. YouTubers event in June 2021 was reportedly held at a massive deficit. Alongside this, many fellow content creators were critical regarding the supposedly staged theatrics between main event fighters Austin McBroom and Bryce Hall, putting an entire house on the line, which was never awarded to the winner.
When discussing the space generally, Dr.Mike did not mince words in expressing how he believes influencer boxing could be improved.
“A lot of it has been very circus-like,” the physician-turned-fighter said. “I think it needs some quality people coming in and proving that influencers want to take this seriously and are capable of taking it seriously.” Dr.Mike praised Creator Clash for its efforts to prepare its participants for their matches, particularly by equipping the fighters with professional trainers.
Though Dr.Mike said he has stuck with his boxing coach his entire 10 years in the sport, many of the first-time fighters are receiving training from accomplished veterans. AB from the H3 Podcast has consistently trained with Wale “Luckyboy” Omotoso, Michael Reeves and TheOdd1sOut have practiced alongside two-time Golden Gloves recipient Michael Kwik Flores, and many other trainers for the remaining fighters boast similarly successful careers and accolades.
When discussing with iDubbbz, the YouTuber said he did not want to delusion his fans with fake beef or over-the-top stakes.
“We want everyone to know this is a serious sport,” iDubbbz said. “You can’t play boxing. It’s real. I want casual fans to know that, casual fight fans, YouTubers, and other influencers stepping into the ring.”
IDubbbz went in depth on how disruptive and consuming training can be to properly condition fighters for a fair and safe showing. Despite going against the current influencer boxing trends, iDubbbz holds that this philosophy and extensive preparations will ultimately yield more entertaining matches and better coverage for the sport overall.
The main event matchup
Being both a main event fighter and event coordinator for Creator Clash, iDubbbz admitted that many logistical aspects of his role have complicated his personal preparations for his eventual main card fight. The YouTuber described his administrative responsibilities as putting out “small fires” for Creator Clash, such as ordering fitted protective gear, assigning trainers, and other matters that helped guide his fighters through the otherwise unknown territory of boxing.
Despite the challenges in preparing fights, iDubbbz was quick to praise the strides several of the fighters had made in the short months of conditioning. He particularly commended YouTuber Michael Reeves ahead of his fight.
“[Reeves] has been one of the more impressive fighters and has a little bit of natural talent,” iDubbbz said. “It seems like it comes naturally to him, so I think he’ll be one to look out for.”
For his own matchup, iDubbbz remains optimistic but has embraced the mystery behind his opponent’s boxing prowess. The boxing influencer said he looks forward to entering the match with as little information as possible and adapting to whatever Dr.Mike throws at him, forgoing the potential strategy of footage review.
Dr.Mike is equally confident, albeit blind, walking into the main event. Though his extensive medical experience admittedly does not give him any esoteric knowledge on how or where to hit, Dr.Mike did say his true advantage came in the realm of training.
“Everyone suffers some sort of injury,” the Manhattan-based doctor said. “But how you recover from those injuries and how you adapt your training with those injuries is important.”
Dr.Mike explained the worst possible fear for any boxer should not be getting hit, but rather getting tired. “If you’re tired in that ring and the opponent knows that you can’t throw anymore punches, they know they don’t have to stop,” Dr.Mike said. Though the main event fighters are operating with relatively little knowledge about each other, both appear to be focused on their own improvement and endurance.
A creative card
Creator Clash’s fight card is a fine mixture of absurd and exciting, hosting fighters at a variety of skill and experience levels. The most recent addition to Creator Clash’s lineup includes two official matches between professional boxers, featuring Fabian vs. Lopez and Radivoje vs. Kalajdzic. Though they were a last-minute addition to the fight card, iDubbbz hopes these two fights can pay tribute to those truly dedicated to the art of boxing.
“It gives a lot of attention to people who are truly grinding in the sport,” iDubbbz said. “A lot of us, you can’t call nine months grinding compared to these guys.”
Aside from having a stacked fight card, iDubbbz also touched on the broadcast team, consisting of some of the most recognizable YouTubers and Twitch streamers in the space. Adding MoistCr1tikal, xQc, Esfand, and more, iDubbbz hopes having commentators with varying levels of knowledge will make the content more digestible for casual audiences.
“We knew we had to have two serious boxing commentators to keep us grounded and tell the people exactly what’s going on,” iDubbbz said. “But it would just be so funny to have xQc or [MoistCr1tikal] come out with some crazy commentary.”
With Creator Clash only days away, iDubbbz is presenting the growing trend of influencer boxing to a wide audience. We won’t have long to wait to see how the first Creator Clash pans out. Fans hoping to catch the event can still purchase tickets online on the Creator Clash website.