Joshua Ruiz II latest sport event to head to Saudi Arabia

12 Aug 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

The World Heavyweight rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr is the latest major sporting event to be announced as taking place in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua was surprisingly stopped by Ruiz in Madison Square Garden in New York back in June in what was the British fighter’s first professional loss. The rematch has now been confirmed as taking place on 7th December in the Diriyah, on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

The decision has caused some controversy, and has been criticised by human rights group Amnesty International, who have accused the Gulf state of ‘sportswashing’.

“If Anthony Joshua fights Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, it’s likely to be yet another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to ‘sportswash’ their severely tarnished image,” said Felix Jakens, Head of Campaigns, Amnesty International UK.

This is the latest in Saudi Arabia's investment in world sport, with the bout costing Saudi backers close to $100m, while Sky Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US are in line to broadcast the event.

Saudi Arabia played host to the first race of the Formula E season back in December and are also in talks over a potential Formula 1 Grand Prix to take place in the Kingdom. A European Tour event took place back in January where former world number one Justin Rose was among the competitors, while the 2020 Saudi Cup is set to become the richest race in horse racing's history.