As aerial photographs of the Diriyah Arena are released for the first time, Anthony Joshua talks about the legacy of his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr
In less than a week Saudi Arabia will host what is regarded as one of the biggest sporting events to ever be staged in the Middle East, the highly-anticipated Heavyweight World Championship fight dubbed ‘Clash on the Dunes’ presented by Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Many have already marveled at the speed of the arena build that will host the fight which was planned to become one of the world’s largest outdoor stadiums and one that had to be built in under two months.
The 15,000-seat purpose-built outdoor arena’s construction kicked off on the 7th of October and used almost 300 tons of steel to cover an area of 10,000 sqm at the center of historic UNESCO heritage site, Diriyah, the birthplace of the first kings of Saudi Arabia. It took 175 working dedicated staff to finish the works in time for what is considered the biggest fight in the past fifty years.
Touring the Diriyah Arena, Heavyweight ruler Andy Ruiz Jr said: “It’s amazing man, it’s crazy how they built everything in a month and a half. It’s amazing to be fighting over here, it’s going to be really historic and I’m planning to make history over here. It’s a lot different. When I first got here none of this was here so it’s unbelievable.”
The massive structure will take more than 2000 staff members to operate it on fight night and will seat 300 media with hundreds more seated in a nearby media center. The magnitude of the fight and the historical location will have all eyes on Saudi come December 7th.
Just like media, fans are flocking to Diriyah from all over the world. People from over 65 countries have bought tickets to see the heavyweights go at it from seats of the arena.
Anthony Joshua said: “It’s going to be an incredible night and I’m thrilled so many of my fans are going to be there, particularly from the UK.
"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."