Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua arrived in Saudi Arabia for an explosive clash at the Diriyah Arena – the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ against world champion Andy Ruiz jr.
It’s the first world heavyweight title fight to take place in the Middle East and will be staged at the custom-built 15,000-capacity Diriyah Arena at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Joshua will be looking to regain his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts following his defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier this year.
Before arriving in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night for a pre-fight training camp, Joshua said: “It’ll definitely be a night people will tell their grandchildren they were at, one of those iconic evenings of boxing. Everyone from Saudi has been brilliant to work with.”
Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Boxing, said: “The arena and site are utterly breath-taking, with a theme park and concert the night before as well. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in boxing. The Clash of the Dunes will be a night to remember. We can’t wait.”
On the night, more than 2,000 staff will ensure things run smoothly at the Diriyah Arena, 95 percent of which is reusable and which will take a month to take down.
‘Clash on the Dunes’ is part of the Diriyah season which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.