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

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(CNN) — Muhammad Ali’s battles against George Foreman –“the Rumble in the Jungle” — and Joe Frazier — the”Thrilla in Manila” — helped launch boxing’s heavyweight division in the worldwide public’s consciousness.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping the rematch between Anthony Joshua along with Andy Ruiz Jr.. In Saudi Arabia — even the”Clash of the Dunes” — could do the same and”alter boxing forever.”
The struggle is supposed to be held at Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, on December 7.
Saudi Arabia has sponsored a number of fights in recent times, including Amir Khan’s win over Billy Dib, however Amnesty International UK has urged Joshua to”inform himself from the human rights situation” from the Middle East nation ahead of this rematch.
“We’d strategies from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn told a press conference in London, describing the decision to stage the fight Riyadh.
“We had to move someplace that believed in the game of boxing, which had an eyesight. We already knew Saudi Arabia was for actual and understood they had been investing in the game of boxing. That was really important for us.”
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‘Sportswash’
Saudi Arabia has just hosted sporting events such as football’s Italian Super Cup, the opening race of this 2018-19 Formula E season and will stage the world’s richest horse race in 2020.
But, there are worries over the present human rights crackdown”with women’s rights activists, attorneys and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted,” according to Amnesty International UK.
“It’s likely to be still another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to attempt to’sportswash’ their severely tarnished image,” said Felix Jakens,” Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
“I knew that when we made the decision not each response could be favorable, which there would be controversy and criticism,” Hearn told the Guardian, in reaction to this criticism of staging the struggle in Saudi Arabia. “I am a boxing promoter and sometimes the criticism along with the curiosity will cause an event of an extraordinary magnitude.”
Hearn also believes the nation’s growing population — over 34 million — will give boxing a stage to attain new heights of popularity.
“If Saudi Arabia will invest in those conflicts, with the population they have, together with the potential to increase the game of boxing, you might be seeing a huge shift at the dynamics of this game, which truly excites me,” Hearn added.
CNN has reached out to Saudi Arabian government officials but has yet to get a reply.
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Ruiz confusion
Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat once the heavyweight pair met in New York City in June, posted a message on societal websites confirming the fight but his Mexican competition appears to have additional thoughts.
On Wednesday, a movie on societal media appeared to reveal Ruiz Jr. ignoring the struggle would be held from Saudi Arabia along with a reported television appearance later added to the confusion.
“I haven’t signed anything yet, we are negotiating that which,” he told ESPN in Mexico, before saying he would favor the rematch to occur in New York.
However, Hearn stated both fighters have signed up the contract and supported the struggle would go ahead.
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Ruiz, who was born in California but has Mexican parentswho’d left calls for the rematch to be hauled in Tijuana where he made his professional debut in 2009.
The Principality Stadium in Wales — the site of two specialist victories for Joshua — had previously been considered as the most likely site to the struggle.
“Ruiz had a moan about the UK,” added Hearn. “We stated: there is your impartial venue”

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