Vitaly's journey from steroids, streaking and broken neck to YouTube boxing fight

Russian YouTube star Vitaly will make his boxing debut tonight against fellow prankster Kristen Hanby after a career filled with highs and very controversial lows.

The social media sensation began his YouTube channel Vitalyzdtv in 2011, where he would prank unsuspecting members of the public, and quickly amassed a huge following.

He infamously had a number of brushes with the law in an effort to grow his following, including efforts to streak at the World Cup, NBA and baseball world series finals.

Over a nine-year period he accrued over 10million followers, but an arrest for aggravated battery in Miami during April 2020 saw him behind bars and on the receiving end of a social media backlash like nothing he'd seen before.

Just months later, his fortunes went from bad to worse when he was hospitalised after a skydiving accident left him with a broken neck and back as he battled for his life.

And after losing a large chunk of his following as well as hitting rock bottom, he decided to get clean from alcohol, drugs and steroids, which he had taken in an effort to gain his huge body builder's physique.

Just weeks later, he had signed to make his boxing debut against fellow prankster Hanby, which finally takes place this evening at London's Wembley Arena.

"I've learned from my mistakes," he told Mirror Fighting in a candid interview. "It's definitely been a hard two years of my life.

"I've been depressed, had substance abuse, but I'm sober and healthy now, my mum is doing well, I'm happy which is the most important part.

"I lost everything because of my legal trouble, and then I broke my back and neck, then I lost a loved one.

"I also lost my Instagram, which I know might sound petty but that was my biggest source of income, and all this happened in one year."

He has launched something of a comeback on YouTube in recent months, but his view count pales in comparison to his heyday when he would rake in millions.

However, he views his boxing career as an opportunity to get back in the headlines, this time for positive reasons as he looks to eventually face Jake Paul.

The pair were once friends in the Los Angeles influencer scene, but there is now no love lost between the pair, and he has vowed to rid the sport of the divisive Ohio native.

"I don't want to fight a loser," he said of Paul, whose older brother Logan is also a professional boxer. "So I'm going past Logan and straight for Jake.

"I know Jake will make a load of excuses, say I'm irrelevant, blah, blah, blah which is because I took a break from YouTube to deal with my own problems.

Vitaly's journey from steroids, streaking and broken neck to YouTube boxing fight

"At the end of the day, they need to know who the daddy is.

"When we used to be friends they used to tell me how much they looked up to me.

"They said the reason they started social media was because of me so at the end of the day they have to put respect on my name and go in the ring.

"I'm built different, I've got the hunger in me, I'm Russian, I have boiling blood."

Are you rooting for Vitaly in his fight with Kristen Hanby? Let us know in the comments section below!

But to get to Paul, he will first need to get past his rival Hanby, with whom he shares a heated feud after the Brit dragged his mum into the fued.

Hanby and Vitaly have almost come to blows on multiple occasions during the build-up to their fight, but he promises the fight will be quick - claiming he will land a 60 second knockout.

"I feel bad, I really do," he said of the punishment he plans to dish out. "I've seen him sparring, he performed on stage, he looks like a joke; he's a street fighter and this is boxing!

"I'm a man of my word - absolutely I will knock him out, you will see.

"The relationship is done, he talked s*** about my mother, I did talk s*** about his grandmother, I take responsibility for that but mothers are different.

"He's going to get slapped around, it's a Rottweiler against a Chihuahua in the ring, I'm going to tear him apart.

"He's going to regret this - it's going to hurt.

"A bull couldn't knock me out, how is someone going to tell me Kristen Hanby can knock me out?"

On Hanby's part, he is hoping to keep fans happy with a big victory that would see the Russian humiliated on the world stage in his efforts to launch a comeback.

Tickets are on sale now at and via AXS for Showstar Boxing 2022, which will be headlined by Deji vs Alex Wassabi.

If you're outside of the UK, you can watch the fight on PPV via the Showstar website for £6.99.

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