PATRICE EVRA will fight the self-proclaimed ‘best YouTube boxer in the world’ – who shot to fame dancing on Ellen DeGeneres‘ show.
The Manchester United legend is confirmed for a shock celebrity bout at the O2 Arena on Saturday, April 30.
Boxing legend Prince Naseem Hamed and Adam Saleh
Adam Saleh is the self-proclaimed ‘best YouTube boxer’ in the world
And the man welcoming him to the ring is social media influencer Adam Saleh, who is also known as a boxer on the YouTube circuit.
Evra, 40, specifically selected to face the American – who warned the retired left-back chose wrong.
Saleh told SunSport: “They showed like four or five opponents to Patrice Evra and I was one of them.
“Him and his PR team chose me, and they made a mistake. He’s starting his boxing career – but I’m about to end his boxing career.
“They truly believe that he can knock me out, that’s what they told me through the phone, ‘Are you ready for Patrice Evra to knock you out’.
“But you know, I’m just happy and grateful to share the ring with a football legend from Manchester United, who was team-mates with Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Saleh, who has boxed in three other similar bouts, has 1.5million Instagram followers and nearly 5m YouTube subscribers.
He got his big break in 2013 after winning a dance competition on DeGeneres’ talk show – which kickstarted his content career.
Saleh revealed: “I won a trip to go on her show and she interviewed me. That’s when I gained a lot of traction, like 50,000 subscribers.
“From there I just capitalised, I even do music for fun, I’ve toured all over the world and now it’s like YouTube boxing has become a thing now.
“I also used to do street boxing videos in New York. There’s a video of mine which has like 18 million views, where I randomly had a street boxing fight.”
One such viral street fighting video landed Saleh in hot water and in turn ended his amateur boxing career.
He said: “I got my amateur boxing licence taken away as I was boxing in the street and people were recording me.
“It was going up on this website called World Star Hip Hop. I did have some amateur experience but after that I took like a ten-year break.”
Saleh claimed to have had an unbeaten 14-0 record in the amateurs until he was booted out aged 16.
But those early bouts and training would later become important following the rise of YouTuber stars boxing.
Adam Saleh on Ellen DeGeneres’ show
Brothers Jake and Logan Paul, 25 and 26, as well as Britain’s KSI, 28, are among the pioneers of the new wave.
But Saleh, 28, insisted he is better than the lot of them, with the amateur experience to back it up.
He said: “Technically and skilfully-wise I’m the best YouTube boxer right now.
“Yeah, I’m not the same weight as KSI, Logan, Jake, but if I was, it would be a problem for them.
“They should be happy I’m not. But definitely I think I am the most skilful and technically best YouTube boxer in the world right now.”
Saleh, who has a record of two wins and one draw, was contacted by newly-found promotion BoxStar to face Evra.
And after less than two weeks of talks, and an NDA to keep negotiations quiet, the New Yorker was picked for the surprise fight.
Saleh said: “I was up for it, I would love to share the ring with the legend and teach him a lesson to never step foot in the boxing ring with me again.
Adam Saleh has boxed in three exhibition bouts
The American has two wins and one draw
“I’m going to have no mercy.”
Celebs and even retired boxing champions have been accused of trying to profit with shameful cash-grab fights.
But former Champions League winner Evra cannot fall under that category, with his motives to make a boxing return still unknown.
What Saleh does now is it is not for money – making the Frenchman impossible to overlook.
Saleh said: “It makes him very, very dangerous 100 per cent and I’m taking him very serious, as if I was fighting Tyson Fury, the world champ.
“That’s how I look at it, they told me he’s very, very competitive.
“I didn’t know too much about him before, but they told me he’s a very competitive guy who takes everything he does very seriously.
“In my head I’m thinking he’s definitely not doing it for the money, he’s a legendary footballer.
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“In my head I’m like, ‘Wow, this makes him dangerous’. But at the same time, my trainer makes him look at him like any other opponent.”
Saleh has a wardrobe of several football tops – but knows which two teams he is supporting for the foreseeable future.
He said: “I have a bunch of jerseys. I got Arsenal, Liverpool, I got Manchester City. As of now, I’m Man City and Liverpool.”
Patrice Evra in 2013 with the Premier League title
Adam Saleh posing in a Man City kit