Sport

Ruiz, Joshua promoters talk December 7 rematch

Ruiz, Joshua promoters talk December 7 rematch”

Promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that "the fight is definitely on" and that 'Ruiz has 100 per cent signed the contract despite the fake news that he is not going to Saudi Arabia'.

Amnesty International have been among the groups to accuse the Saudi authorities of trying to "sportswash" their image by paying £83m to take the fight, which is being billed as the "Clash of the Dunes" to Diriyah, on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh, on 7 December.

Of Joshua surrendering home advantage for a hard return bout, Hearn says: 'He knew it would make it easier to satisfy Ruiz but more importantly he knows he will get more credit for not imposing his right to box at home'.

"We have to realise that there is a another world out there outside of Cardiff and Madison Square Garden, and we have an obligation to grow the sport of boxing to new areas, to new regions and, for me, this event could change boxing forever, because if Saudi Arabia are going to invest in these kind of fights, with the population they have and the potential to grow the sport of boxing, you could be seeing a big change in the dynamics of the sport, and that's something that really excites me". He sees himself as a boxer who can fight wherever he wants for the exposure, the money and the opportunity to expand boxing to new regions. "It was a fantastic event, not just for the logistical setup but because of the vibrancy of the crowd, the interest in the sport of boxing".

Amnesty International has criticised the choice of Saudi Arabia for the fight, citing human rights violations, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the ongoing war in Yemen.

"Quite frankly the logistical side blew our mind", he said.

"We just finished a meeting talking about the design of the new open air stadium for this fight, already talking about 12,000 but probably, judging by the response, might need 15 or 16,000". Many of these we spoke to.

Hearn and Khalil noted that other major sports events have recently been held in Saudi Arabia, including the European Golf Tour and the Italian Super Cup in soccer.

"So for those making the trip it will be an incredible experience", he added. This is such a huge occasion for boxing, an iconic moment for boxing.

Amnesty International has criticised the choice of venue for the fight on December 7 - when Joshua will aim to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he lost to Ruiz Jr in NY in June - citing the country's poor human rights record, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the ongoing war in Yemen.

"A lot of territories contacted us about one-off events, which would be the first time they have hosted boxing and they just wanted to do a massive event, it is different in Saudi Arabia".

He says: 'The money is not that big but it is certainly good enough for us to have settled the questions and quibbles from a champion who is very happy to be fighting in a neutral venue instead of in front of Joshua's home fans'. He also said that internet reports that Ruiz had not agreed to fight in Saudi Arabia were incorrect.



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