‘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 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 same and”change boxing ”
The fight is scheduled to be held in Diriyah, to the outskirts of Riyadh, on December 7.
Saudi Arabia has sponsored a variety of fights in recent times, including Amir Khan’s triumph over Billy Dib, but Amnesty International UK has advocated Joshua to”tell himself from the human rights situation” in the Middle East country ahead of this rematch.
“We’d approaches in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn told a press conference in London, explaining the decision to phase the fight Riyadh.
“We needed to move somewhere that believed in the game of boxing, that had a vision. We already knew Saudi Arabia was to get actual and knew they had been investing in the game of boxing. This was really crucial for us.”
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Saudi Arabia has just hosted sporting events like soccer’s Italian Super Cup, the opening race of the 2018-19 Formula E year and will point the world’s richest horse race at 2020.
But, there are anxieties over the current human rights crackdown”with women’s rights activists, attorneys and members of the minority community all being targeted,” according to Amnesty International UK.
“It’s very likely to be yet another opportunity for the Saudi government to try to’sportswash’ their badly tarnished image,” said Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
“I knew that when we decided not each response would be positive, 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’m a boxing promoter and on occasion the criticism and the fascination will cause an event of an extraordinary magnitude.”
Hearn also believes the nation’s increasing population — over 34 million — could give boxing a stage to achieve new heights of popularity.
“If Saudi Arabia is going to invest in those fights, with the population they have, with the capacity to increase the game of boxing, you could be seeing a huge change at the dynamics of the game, which truly excites mepersonally,” Hearn added.
CNN has achieved to Saudi Arabian government officials but has yet to be given a response.
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Ruiz confusion
Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat once the heavyweight pair first met in new york in June, posted a message on interpersonal media confirming the fight but his Mexican opponent appears to have additional thoughts.
On Wednesdaya video on interpersonal media appeared to reveal Ruiz Jr. dismissing the fight could be held from Saudi Arabia along with a widely reported television look later added to this confusion.
“I haven’t signed anything yet, we are negotiating what,” he told ESPN in Mexico, before saying he would favor the rematch to occur in New York.
However, Hearn stated that both fighters have signed up the contract and also confirmed the struggle would go ahead.
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Ruiz, who had been born in California but has Mexican parents, had left calls for the rematch to be held in Tijuana in which he made his professional debut in 2009.
The Principality Stadium in Wales — the site of two specialist successes 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 stated: there’s your impartial venue”

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