Andy Ruiz Jr ‘blessed’ to be in Saudi Arabia ahead of Anthony Joshua December rematch

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Andy Ruiz Jr in Ad Diriyah. The fighter said his clash with Anthony Joshua in the Kingdom will be a "historic fight". (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. speaking ahead of his press conference in Saudi Arabia for his world heavyweight title rematch with Anthony Joshua in the Kingdom. (AN Photo)
Updated 05 September 2019

Andy Ruiz Jr ‘blessed’ to be in Saudi Arabia ahead of Anthony Joshua December rematch

  • Arab News interviewed Ruiz before the press conference began
  • Ruiz ‘pleased’ to hear about fanbase in the Kingdom

AD DIRIYAH: When you’re 6ft 2in tall, with a fighting weight of 120kg and a punch like a battering ram, no one is likely to complain if you change your mind.

Mexican boxer Andy Ruiz Jr. vowed last month that he would never set foot in Saudi Arabia for his world heavyweight title rematch with Britain’s Anthony Joshua, suggesting that the fight was going to take place in the US.

MATCH PREVIEW: ‘Clash on the Dunes’ will make boxing history, vow Ruiz, Joshua

And now? “I’m feeling really blessed being over here,” he told Arab News in an interview on Wednesday as preparations began for the fight in Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, on 7 December.

“It’s something different. A lot of people were saying there was a lot of political stuff and all that, but to tell you the truth it’s a lovely place, a beautiful place, a place of history.

“I’m part of history now, and I’m gonna make history here. Having a big fight in a big venue in Saudi Arabia, it’s amazing.”

Ruiz surprised the boxing world when he dethroned Joshua in the seventh round of their first fight in New York in June, becoming Mexico’s first heavyweight champion. Now he can’t wait for the “Clash on the Dunes” rematch. “It’s gonna be an amazing show, not just for me, but for everyone who’s gonna be watching — my family, for all the fans, so I’m really excited to put on a good show,” he said.

“It’s gonna be one hell of a fight. A historic fight. I’m really happy to be here. You can’t miss it.”

Ruiz is even brushing up on his Arabic. “For sure when I come back, I’m gonna practice some more so when I talk to the media I can surprise them,” he said.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.