LONDON – Anthony Joshua’s promoter has defended a decision to stage the Briton’s heavyweight title rematch with Mexican-American world champion Andy Ruiz Junior in Saudi Arabia, and said it could change boxing forever.
Eddie Hearn told a news conference on Monday that Joshua and his opponent had signed up for the December 7 fight to be hosted in an open-air stadium in Ad Diriyha, near the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The choice of venue has been criticised in some quarters, with Saudi Arabia coming under heightened international criticism over its human rights record.
Previously unbeaten Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Ruiz at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 1, with a rematch in the contract.
“We had approaches from Saudi Arabia, from Dubai, from Qatar, from Abu Dhabi,” said Hearn of the rematch.