Infotainment Factory: Much contempt for heavyweight title rematch

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Saturday, 10 August 2019

Much contempt for heavyweight title rematch


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LONDON (AP) — Anthony Joshua's promoters say his world heavyweight title rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. will take place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 7.

The British fighter will be trying to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO belts he lost to Ruiz at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 1.

Ruiz, an American, had insisted that the rematch take place back in the U.S. or at a neutral venue. Diriyah is a town on the outskirts of Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.

Their rematch will be the highest-profile boxing event to be held in the country after welterweight Amir Khan's win over Australia's Billy Dib in Jeddah on July 12.

Saudi Arabia also hosted the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight final between British fighters Callum Smith and George Groves last year.

Promoters Matchroom Boxing said the fight details will be officially revealed at a news conference in London on Monday.

The rematch had been widely touted but Cardiff's Principality Stadium was tipped as favourite to stage the event.

The Saudis have faced intense diplomatic fallout over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi which took place in the conservative kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Anthony Joshua celebrates

Saudi rulers, also under fire for the war in neighbouring Yemen, have utilised sport as a tool to try and soften their international image and to provide a showcase, they claim, for reforms inside the oil-rich state.

But Friday's announcement was quickly denounced by human rights campaigners. "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 Amnesty UK's head of campaigns Felix Jakens.

"Despite some long-overdue reforms on women's rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown -- with women's rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted.

"There's been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians."

Amnesty said Joshua should "inform himself of the human rights situation and be prepared to speak out about Saudi Arabia's abysmal human rights record".

LONDON (AP) — Anthony Joshua's promoters say his world heavyweight title rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. will take place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 7.

The British fighter will be trying to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO belts he lost to Ruiz at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 1.

Ruiz, an American, had insisted that the rematch take place back in the U.S. or at a neutral venue. Diriyah is a town on the outskirts of Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.

Their rematch will be the highest-profile boxing event to be held in the country after welterweight Amir Khan's win over Australia's Billy Dib in Jeddah on July 12.

Saudi Arabia also hosted the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight final between British fighters Callum Smith and George Groves last year.

Promoters Matchroom Boxing said the fight details will be officially revealed at a news conference in London on Monday.

The rematch had been widely touted but Cardiff's Principality Stadium was tipped as favourite to stage the event.

The Saudis have faced intense diplomatic fallout over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi which took place in the conservative kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Anthony Joshua celebrates

Saudi rulers, also under fire for the war in neighbouring Yemen, have utilised sport as a tool to try and soften their international image and to provide a showcase, they claim, for reforms inside the oil-rich state.

But Friday's announcement was quickly denounced by human rights campaigners. "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 Amnesty UK's head of campaigns Felix Jakens.

"Despite some long-overdue reforms on women's rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown -- with women's rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted.

"There's been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians."

Amnesty said Joshua should "inform himself of the human rights situation and be prepared to speak out about Saudi Arabia's abysmal human rights record".

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