WATCH: The knockout punch that landed Murat Gassiev a $10 million fight in Saudi Arabia

Murat Gassiev stands over Yunier Dorticos after knocking the Cuban to the floor. (Getty)
Updated 05 February 2018
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WATCH: The knockout punch that landed Murat Gassiev a $10 million fight in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Yunier Dorticos had never been stopped in his previous 22 fights before the World Boxing Super Series semifinal matchup on Saturday, so it was always going to take something special to inflict the first defeat of the Cuban’s career and rob him of his WBA cruiserweight title.
And Murat Gassiev, the big punching Russian, produced it, delivering a sledgehammer of a left hook with just 90 seconds remaining of their enthralling fight in Sochi. It was a shot the watching Gennady Golovkin would have been proud of.
 
Dorticos somehow got up but the damage was done and Gassiev won the fight by TKO to extend his own record to 26-0 and set up a winner-takes-all showdown with fellow unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah on May 11. On the line is the Muhammad Ali Trophy and the chance to be crowned cruiserweight division’s first undisputed champion. Usyk was ringside on Saturday and they whetted the appetite for the clash of the cruiserweight titans by indulging in their first face-off.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.