The sporting world’s full attention will turn to Jeddah this week as the Saudi city hosts a huge fight week ahead of ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ bout.
The latest international sports event to be held in Jeddah is considered by some to be ‘the biggest fight ever’.
Live from Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Arena, unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk defends his WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts against former two-time unified champion Anthony Joshua on Saturday, August 20, in one of the most anticipated rematches in boxing history.
The winner on Saturday will also take home the Ring Magazine title after Tyson Fury vacated the gold just last week.
In the first meeting between these two titans of the heavyweight division, Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) produced a masterclass performance en route to dethroning Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs), defeating the Briton in his own backyard by unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England last September, with over 60,000 fans in attendance and millions more watching around the world.
This time around, Joshua enters the ring as challenger rather than champion, although ‘AJ’ has enacted revenge and immediately reclaimed the titles before in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh hosted the epic ‘Clash on the Dunes’ in December 2019 when Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr on points and avenged his shock defeat a year prior. Meanwhile, Usyk remains undefeated in his professional campaign. The former undisputed cruiserweight world champion has made the successful transition to heavyweight and is viewed by many as the world’s pound-for-pound best fighter.
Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of Skill Challenge Entertainment (SCEE), said: “International boxing spectacles are always special, not least because of the activities and events part of the pre-fight build-up. History illustrates that the days leading up to massive fights live long in the memory of everyone involved, from fans to media, promotors to sponsors, the fighters themselves to their teams and families. They are a traditional yet integral component of local, regional, and international promotion and contribute to the acclaim these events receive and the legacy they leave behind.
“As such, we are delighted that the time has finally come for Jeddah to host Rage on the Red Sea fight week. Jeddah is ready to welcome the world once more while showcasing precisely it has become the new home for Middle Eastern sport.”
Fight week in Jeddah officially gets underway today with an exclusive media arrival event at Shangri-La Business Center, where international media, VIPs, and other invited guests will enjoy a series of press opportunities with fighters, promotors, and key stakeholders.
Tomorrow (August 16), the week’s proceeding will continue with the traditional public workout. Hosted at Saudia City, fans will join media and VIPs as the undercard and main event fighters showcase their skills and offer a first-hand glimpse of their pre-fight preparations, sure to generate further buzz before the weekend’s action.
The pre-fight press conference will then go ahead on Wednesday at Shangri-La Hotel from 2pm local time. Stakeholders, sponsors, and the media will be attendance as the fighters and their teams share their thoughts and answer questions with Rage on the Red Sea just three days away, while two days later, on Friday August 19, the fighters will face off for the final time before fight night at the official weigh-in.
Later that evening, the Shangri-La ballroom will host an invitation-only gala dinner for global partners and guests of the Ministry of Sports and SCEE – awarded the global rights to host Rage on the Red Sea.
Fight week will then culminate on Saturday with the undercard fights, followed by a special performance to hype up the crowd by US Superstar Russ, ahead of the main event. Throughout the week, fans from across the Middle East and wider world will also make their way to Jeddah as the heavyweight fight everyone is waiting for approaches.
Tickets are still available from SR375, and fight fans can get their tickets via www.halayalla.com/sa-en/tickets/rage-on-the-red-sea. For VISA entry information, fans should go to https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ for information on how to apply. -TradeArabia News Service