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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Bangladesh call up uncapped Mahmud for Pakistan tour amid safety debate

Updated 18 January 2020

Bangladesh call up uncapped Mahmud for Pakistan tour amid safety debate

  • Some senior players and coaches have declined to play in Pakistan citing safety concerns
  • Bangladesh will play their T20s in Lahore from Jan. 24 and return to Pakistan for test matches in February

DHAKA: Bangladesh on Saturday called up uncapped fast bowler Hasan Mahmud for their three-match Twenty20 series in Pakistan which has been engulfed by fears over player safety.
Opener Tamim Iqbal returns after skipping a home series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe and a tour in India. Mosaddek Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam and Abu Hider have been dropped from the squad.
“Hasan is a quick bowler and has a good future. So we thought maybe this is the right time to give him a break,” said Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief selector MinHajjul Abedin.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim was left out after saying he would not go to Pakistan for security reasons.
A senior BCB official said batting coach Neil McKenzie, spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori and fielding coach Rayan Cook would also not accompany the team.
Mushfiqur, 32, remained adamant that he would not be with the squad when they leave on Wednesday.
“I decided it a long time ago and informed the board. I have submitted a letter too. My family is concerned, and don’t want me to go,” Mushfiqur told reporters late Friday.
He has also kept his name off the draft for the Pakistan Super League T20 tournament.
“There’s no bigger sin for me than not playing for Bangladesh. But I had refused an offer to play in the PSL after finding out that the tournament will be entirely held in Pakistan,” he said.
“I agree that things have improved in Pakistan, but I will gain confidence when I see teams going there for the next two years. I have been to Pakistan before, it is a great place to play cricket.”
Mushfiqur’s absence will be a blow for Bangladesh who are already without suspended all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and lost their two recent Tests in India inside three days. “I wish good luck to our team,” he said.
Bangladesh play their T20s in Lahore from January 24-27 before returning home. They will go back to Pakistan for the first Test starting February 7 and visit again to play a one day international in Karachi on April 3 and the second Test from April 5.
Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Nazmul Hossain, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahadi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain and Hasan Mahmud.