Joshua promoter defends Saudi fight as game changer for boxing

Joshua promoter defends Saudi fight as game changer for boxing
Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua in the first round during their IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden.

London - 'We have to realise that there is another world out there outside of Cardiff and Madison Square Garden'



By Reuters

Published: Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:13 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Aug 2019, 12:15 AM

Anthony Joshua's promoter has defended a decision to stage the Briton's heavyweight title rematch with Mexican-American world champion Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia and said it could change boxing forever.Eddie Hearn told a news conference on Monday that Joshua and his opponent had signed up for the Dec. 7 fight to be hosted in an open-air stadium in Ad Diriyha, near the Saudi capital Riyadh.Previously unbeaten Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Ruiz at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 1, with a rematch in the contract."We had approaches from Saudi Arabia, from Dubai, from Qatar, from Abu Dhabi," said Hearn of the rematch. "And there's been numerous conversations in the past about staging events in that region."We have to realise that there is another world out there outside of Cardiff and Madison Square Garden, and we have an obligation to grow the sport of boxing to new areas and regions," he added."This event could change boxing forever. If Saudi Arabia are going to invest in these kind of fights, with the population that they have and the potential to grow the sport, you could be seeing a big change in the dynamics of the sport."Hearn cited a list of international sporting events hosted by Saudi Arabia in recent years, including the all-electric Formula E motor racing series, European Tour golf, the Italian Super Cup, boxing and WWE wrestling.The country recently announced it will host in 2020 the world's richest horse race, with a purse of $20 million."This is such a huge occasion for boxing, an iconic moment," said Hearn. "With the response that we've seen, mainly good and some negative, I guarantee you with curiosity the whole world will be watching this fight."The BBC reported Saudi backers were paying a $40 million site fee.


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