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

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(CNN) — Muhammad Ali’s fights against George Foreman –“the Rumble in the Jungle” — and Joe Frazier — the”Thrilla in Manila” — helped establish boxing heavyweight division in the international public’s consciousness.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is expecting the rematch between Anthony Joshua along with Andy Ruiz Jr.. In Saudi Arabia — dubbed 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 in recent times, including Amir Khan’s win over Billy Dib, however Amnesty International UK has advocated Joshua to”tell himself from their human rights situation” from the Middle East nation before the rematch.
“We had approaches in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn told a media conference in London, describing the decision to stage the fight In Riyadh.
“We wanted to go someplace that believed in the game of boxing, which had an eyesight. We already knew Saudi Arabia was for actual and knew they were investing in the game of boxing. That was really crucial for all of us.”
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‘Sportswash’
Saudi Arabia has recently hosted sporting events such as soccer’s Italian Super Cup, the opening race of the 2018-19 Formula E year and will point the world’s richest horse race in 2020.
But, there are anxieties 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 is very likely to be still another opportunity for the Saudi government to try to’sportswash’ their badly tarnished picture,” explained Felix Jakens,” Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
“I knew that when we made the decision not every response would be favorable, and that there could be criticism and controversy,” Hearn told the Guardian, in response to this criticism of staging the struggle in Saudi Arabia. “I am a boxing promoter and on occasion the criticism and the fascination will cause an event of an extraordinary magnitude.”
Hearn also considers the country’s growing population — over 34 million — could give boxing a stage to attain new heights of popularity.
“If Saudi Arabia will invest in those conflicts, together with the people they have, together with the capability to grow the sport of boxing, you could be seeing a large shift in the dynamics of this sport, which truly excites mepersonally,” Hearn added.
CNN has achieved to Saudi Arabian government officials but has yet to be given a reply.
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Ruiz confusion
Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat once the heavyweight pair met in new york in June, posted a message on societal media confirming the struggle but his Mexican opponent appears to have additional thoughts.
On Wednesday, a movie on societal media appeared to show Ruiz Jr. dismissing the fight would be held from Saudi Arabia and a widely reported tv appearance later added to this confusion.
“I haven’t signed anything yet, we’re negotiating everything,” he told ESPN at Mexico, before saying he would prefer the rematch to occur in New York.
However, Hearn explained both fighters have signed the contract and confirmed the fight would proceed.
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Ruiz, who had been born in California but has Mexican parents, had left calls to get the rematch to be held at 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 for the fight.
“Ruiz had a moan about the united kingdom,” added Hearn. “We said: there is your neutral venue.”

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