British fans buy half the tickets to Diriyah boxing match

British boxer Anthony Joshua training for the heavyweight title match against Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr. (SPA)
Updated 02 December 2019

British fans buy half the tickets to Diriyah boxing match

  • Some have booked round trips from as far afield as Fiji, traveling 30,000 kilometers to attend the event

RIYADH: Thousands of British fans have swept the box office for the historic Diriyah fight, where British boxer Anthony Joshua will meet Mexican-American opponent Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The match is sponsored by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The organizing committee’s figures showed that half of the tickets to the anticipated match have been purchased by fans from the UK, with seats going to fans from 65 different countries in total.

Some have booked round trips from as far afield as Fiji, traveling 30,000 kilometers to attend the event.

Joshua, the favorite, said he was looking forward to beating Ruiz Jr., and winning back the belts of the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Organization, and the World Boxing Federation he lost to his opponent in New York earlier this year.

Speaking about the diversity of ticket sales, Frank Smith, CEO of Matchroom Boxing, said: “The matches in which Anthony Joshua participated achieved record sales around the world, whether in London or New York. Joshua is a world-renowned star, and I believe he will fight an exciting match against his opponent, who is also popular among fans from around the world.”

 He added: “This upcoming match is one of the biggest boxing fights in the world. Therefore, there is a global interest that is growing at a very rapid pace. There is no doubt that the spectacular crowd that brings together boxing fans from the UK, US and Saudi Arabia will provide a great atmosphere during the evening of the fight, and we look forward to expanding this audience to include more countries.”

 The fight is part of the month-long Diriyah Season, which features a variety of major sporting events, including Formula E races, held a few days ago, the Diriyah Tennis Cup, in which eight of the world’s best male tennis players participated, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, in which an elite group of riders compete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

 The organizing committee of the fight highlighted that tickets can be bought from the Diriyah Season website (www.diriyahseason.sa) and tourist visas are available to tourists from outside the Kingdom through the website visitsaudi.com.

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Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

Updated 09 August 2020

Boris Johnson urges ‘clarity’ on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

  • The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month

DUBAI: Pressure is growing on English football authorities to explain why they have not approved a £300 million ($390 million) takeover of Newcastle United football club by a Saudi-led consortium.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would like to see a statement from the Premier League on its failure to reach a decision on the deal, agreed upon in April.

“There must be clarity on why there was a significant delay in a decision being made, and on the reasons why the consortium de- cided to withdraw their bid,” John- son wrote in response to fans.

“I appreciate that many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.”

The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, pulled out last month because of what it called an “unforeseeablylong process” in obtaining approval.

But that has not dimmed enthusiasm in the northeast of England for the deal, which came with the prospect of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the club and the community. An online petition organized by Newcastlefans has attracted nearly 100,000 signatures, and 15 MPs have written to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters express- ing their dismay.

Despite the formal withdrawal of the bid, the consortium members are keen to table the offer again if the logjam can be cleared.

The multibillionaire Reuben brothers, who already have sports business interests in the English northeast and who would own 10 per cent of Newcastle as part of the consortium, said last week they were “totally committed” to the deal and asked the Premier League to think again.

Amanda Staveley, the British financier who brokered the deal and

who would also take 10 per cent, said she was “humbled” by the fans’ continuing support for the takeover.

“Speaking on behalf of myself and my family, the Reuben family and the PIF, we are not just overwhelmed by the support, we are humbled by it.”

 

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