‘This could change boxing forever’: Promoter defends Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia

(CNN) — Muhammad Ali’s fights against George Foreman –“the Rumble in the Jungle” — and Joe Frazier — that the”Thrilla in Manila” — helped launch boxing’s heavyweight division in the global public’s awareness.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping the rematch between Anthony Joshua along with Andy Ruiz Jr.. In Saudi Arabia — the”Clash of the Dunes” — could do the exact same and”change boxing forever.”
The struggle is due to be held in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, on December 7.
Saudi Arabia has hosted a range of conflicts lately, including Amir Khan’s triumph over Billy Dib, but Amnesty International UK has urged Joshua to”inform himself from their human rights situation” in the Middle East country ahead of this rematch.
“We had strategies from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn told a press conference at London, explaining the decision to stage the fight Riyadh.
“We wanted to move someplace that thought in the game of boxing, which had an eyesight. We knew Saudi Arabia was to get real and understood they had been investing in the sport of boxing. That was very important for us.”
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‘Sportswash’
Saudi Arabia has recently hosted sporting events like football’s Italian Super Cup, the opening race of this 2018-19 Formula E season and will stage the world’s richest horse race at 2020.
But, there are worries over the present human rights crackdown”with women’s rights activists, attorneys and members of the minority community all being targeted,” based on Amnesty International UK.
“It’s likely to be yet another chance for the Saudi government to attempt to’sportswash’ their severely tarnished image,” explained Felix Jakens,” Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
“I knew when we decided not every response would be favorable, and that there would be controversy and criticism,” Hearn told the Guardian, in response to the criticism of staging the fight in Saudi Arabia. “I am a boxing promoter and at times the criticism along with the curiosity will cause an case of an extraordinary magnitude.”
Hearn also considers the country’s growing population — over 34 million — will give boxing a platform to attain new levels of fame.
“If Saudi Arabia is going to invest in these fights, with the population they have, with the capacity to grow the game of boxing, you could be seeing a significant shift at the dynamics of the sport, which really excites me,” Hearn added.
CNN has achieved to Saudi Arabian government officials but has yet to get a response.
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Ruiz confusion
Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat when the heavyweight pair met in nyc in June, posted a message on interpersonal media confirming the struggle but his Mexican opponent seems to have additional ideas.
On Wednesday, a movie on societal media appeared to show Ruiz Jr. blowing off the struggle would be held in Saudi Arabia along with a reported tv look later added to the confusion.
“I haven’t signed anything yet, we’re negotiating what,” he told ESPN in Mexico, prior to stating he would favor the rematch to take place in New York.
However, Hearn stated that both fighters have signed the contract and also confirmed the struggle would proceed.
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Ruiz, who had been born in California but has Mexican parents, had made forecasts for the rematch to be held in Tijuana where he made his professional debut in 2009.
The Principality Stadium in Wales — the site of two specialist victories for Joshua — had formerly been considered as the most likely site for the fight.
“Ruiz had a moan about the UK,” additional Hearn. “We stated: there’s your impartial venue”

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