‘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 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 — dubbed the”Clash of the Dunes” — could do the exact same and”change boxing ”
The struggle is due to be held at Diriyah, to the outskirts of Riyadh, on December 7.
Saudi Arabia has sponsored a range of conflicts in recent times, including Amir Khan’s triumph over Billy Dib, however Amnesty International UK has urged Joshua to”tell himself from the human rights situation” from the Middle East country before the rematch.
“We had strategies in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn told a media conference in London, describing the decision to stage the fight Riyadh.
“We had to move someplace that thought in the game of boxing, which had an eyesight. We already knew Saudi Arabia was to get real and knew they were investing in the game of boxing. That was really critical for all of us.”
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Saudi Arabia has recently hosted sporting events such as football’s Italian Super Cup, the opening race of the 2018-19 Formula E year and will stage the world’s richest horse race in 2020.
However, there are worries over the present 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 still another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to attempt to’sportswash’ their badly tarnished picture,” said Felix Jakens,” Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
“I knew that when we decided not each response could be positive, which there would be criticism and controversy,” Hearn told the Guardian, in reaction to the criticism of staging the fight in Saudi Arabia. “I’m a boxing promoter and at times the criticism and the fascination will lead to an case of an extraordinary magnitude.”
Hearn also believes the nation’s growing population — over 34 million — could give boxing a platform to attain new levels of popularity.
“If Saudi Arabia will invest in these fights, with the population they have, together with the capacity to increase the sport of boxing, then you could be seeing a large change at the dynamics of this sport, which truly excites me,” Hearn added.
CNN has achieved to Saudi Arabian government officials but has yet to receive a reply.
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Joshua, who suffered a shock defeat once the heavyweight pair first met in nyc in June, posted a message on social websites confirming the struggle but his Mexican competition appears to have additional ideas.
On Wednesdaya video on interpersonal media appeared to show Ruiz Jr. ignoring the fight could be held from Saudi Arabia along with a reported television appearance later added to this confusion.
“I haven’t signed anything yet, we are negotiating everything,” he told ESPN at Mexico, before stating he would prefer the rematch to occur in New York.
But, Hearn said both fighters have signed the contract and supported the struggle would proceed.
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Ruiz, who was born in California but has Mexican parents, had left forecasts for 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 successes for Joshua — had previously been thought of as the most likely site for the fight.
“Ruiz had a moan about the UK,” additional Hearn. “We said: there’s your impartial venue”
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