Boxing

Eddie Hearn defends decision to host Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia

Eddie Hearn claims Canelo Alvarez, Deontay Wilder and boxing’s other big names will be drawn to Saudi Arabia by the riches on offer.

The Saudis are paying over £31million to stage the Clash on the Dunes in Diriyah between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz and Hearn claims this could be the first of many big fights here.

Joshuas’s promoter claims the Saudis are serious about rivalling Las Vegas as a global boxing venue and can see all the big names coming here.

“The bigger picture, who knows?” he said. “The people I’m dealing with I believe have very good intentions for the sport of boxing. They want the sport to develop in this territory.

“Sometimes you've got to look at the bigger picture and the last few days I've really been looking at this event, the venue, the graphics we’ve been putting out, thinking this is pretty mega.

“If they’re going to be investing this kind of money in the sport, we’ve got to be realists and say this is what’s going to happen.

“Everyone's coming – Canelo, Pacquiao, maybe Wilder – and they’re all coming for one reason – they want the money.”

Hearn has been criticised for coming to Saudi because of the country’s poor human rights record and he says he is a promoter rather than a politician.

He claims Tyson Fury was not slated when he fought here in a WWE event a few weeks ago.

“Tyson Fury came here with WWE and no-one raised an eyebrow,” he said.

“I was driving around today and you see House of Fraser. You go into the mall and see Gucci, Chanel, even Starbucks, major corporations who are willing to trade here.

“I can’t sit here and say it has nothing to do with me, but the bottom line is, I’m not a politician.

“As ruthless as it is, I’ve got a job to do for my fighter. It doesn’t matter what I think, but I am happy and excited at how everything has gone.”

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