Getting punchy in the desert. A modern fight in a historic setting.
We are now less than 3 weeks away from the latest global sports event in Saudi. On December 7, in the historic setting of Diriyah Gate, the heavyweight boxers Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz will step into the ring to fight for the unified world title belts in the contest billed as the "Clash on the Dunes". Ruiz shocked the boxing world when he beat the UK's favorite in New York earlier this year. The rematch is expected to generate a huge global TV audience, presenting a significant opportunity for Saudi Arabia to drive increased awareness of the country as a destination.
Diriyah is central to Saudi history, having been established by the early Al Saud family in 1744 and being the base of the expansion throughout the Arabian peninsular. The city was the site of several battles during the 19th century. It's debatable whether the founding fathers could have anticipated a very different battle taking place almost 300 years later. With their original dwellings as the backdrop, it's unlikely boxing has been staged with such an exotic backdrop since the iconic "Rumble in the Jungle".
Situated on the edge of Riyadh, the venue is easily reached from all the established international hotels in the city. Uber and Careem are supporters of the Saudi Seasons program and will make getting to and from the fight simple for visitors not familiar with the city. Riyadh Airport is well served from major international and regional hubs, and the introduction of the new new tourist e-visa will make a trip to the fight pretty straight forward for those still thinking about it.
A 15,000 seat temporary arena is close to completion in the middle of the old city which has just hosted the second FormulaE race weekend. A major part of the Diriyah Season that started on November 22nd and encompasses sports, culture and entertainment events, the fight will provide a very novel experience for visitors and help re-position the Kingdom and its According to the organizers, ticket sales to fans from the UK have been particularly strong. Tickets remain available and can be purchased through the official Diriyah season site