Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk: Exploring Saudi Arabia’s Rising Influence in Boxing

Boxing in Saudi Arabia: A Different Atmosphere

When it comes to boxing events, the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas or the excitement of a London stadium showdown may not be found in Saudi Arabia. Joshua’s recent ‘Day of Reckoning’ and ‘Knockout Chaos’ events in Riyadh did not seem to capture the attention of the wider public. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and hotel staff were largely unaware of any boxing taking place in the city.

One noticeable difference in Saudi Arabia is the lack of fanfare surrounding fighters like Joshua. While in other locations, fighters may be mobbed by fans during fight-week festivities, in Saudi Arabia, there is a more respectful culture where fighters can compete without being constantly hounded by admirers. This cultural difference is one reason why some fighters enjoy competing in Saudi Arabia.

Despite the lack of fanfare, boxing events in Saudi Arabia have still attracted some star power. Musicians like Eminem and Kanye West, as well as legendary fighters like Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, have attended fight weeks to add some stardust to the events. However, for those watching on TV, the atmosphere has been described as “soulless.” In some cases, spectators have even left before the main event, diminishing the overall experience for those in attendance.

Boxing is a sport that lives and dies by its atmosphere, and the lack of a raucous crowd can detract from the viewing pleasure of a live event. Warren, a boxing insider, acknowledges that while there is still an atmosphere at events in Saudi Arabia, it is far from the intense energy found in other locations. He also dispels the notion that the lack of alcohol, which is outlawed in Saudi Arabia, is to blame for the subdued atmosphere.

Ziyad ‘Zizo’ Almaayouf, the only Saudi fighter to have featured on a pro event in Riyadh, asks for patience when it comes to building the boxing culture in the country. He points out that in the Arab world, weekends are workdays, so when events take place in the early hours of the morning, many people have to work soon after. Despite the current lack of intensity, Zizo believes that with time, Saudi Arabia could develop a passionate boxing fan base, akin to the fervor seen in football fans in the region.

In conclusion, while boxing events in Saudi Arabia may lack the pageantry and excitement of other locations, there is potential for the sport to grow in popularity in the region. With patience and time, Saudi Arabia could become a hotbed for boxing enthusiasts, adding another dimension to the global boxing scene.

Back To Top