Andy Ruiz Jr promises to ‘make history again’ in Saudi Arabia clash with Anthony Joshua

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Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Updated 26 November 2019

Andy Ruiz Jr promises to ‘make history again’ in Saudi Arabia clash with Anthony Joshua

  • Ruiz is laying his WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO belts on the line in Saudi Arabia
  • Fight will be held at the custom-built 15,000 capacity Diriyah Arena in Riyadh

RIYADH: Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” when he faces Anthony Joshua in the “Clash on the Dunes” on December 7.

The Mexican-American fighter, who arrived a day after his opponent Joshua, is laying his WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO belts on the line in the first world heavyweight title bout in the Middle East, which will be held at the custom-built 15,000 capacity Diriyah Arena in Riyadh.

When asked about being one of the first boxers to fight in the Kingdom, Andy Ruiz said: “It feels good. You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.”

And speaking to Arab News during a visit to the Kingdom in September, Ruiz said: “I’m feeling really blessed being over here, 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.”

With hundreds of fans from across the US making the journey for the bout, they will have traveled significantly further than fans from the 60 different countries where tickets have been sold. But Ruiz fans will have their work cut out to match the volume of Joshua’s followers, with thousands of UK fans reported to be flying to Saudi Arabia.

Joshua will be looking to regain the title belts on the line after losing them to Ruiz – known as ‘The Destroyer’ - at their first match in New York earlier this year.

A world class undercard of fighters will also be the competing ahead of the main draw, with Alexander Povetkin facing Michael Hunter and Filip Hrgovic fighting Eric Molina.

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sporting events, which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, and also includes the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.


FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

Updated 07 April 2020

FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

  • Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded Qatar's bid

LONDON: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has become the focus of fresh FIFA corruption allegations after the release of a new US Department of Justice indictment which says bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes for hosting rights.

Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded both the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. But on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations down in print.

According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial decision of world football’s governing body.

FIFA and the Qatar World Cup organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Qatar and Russia’s World Cup bids have always denied paying bribes.

Although FIFA has reacted to previous media allegations about the Qatar bid process by insisting the tournament will be unaffected, the USallegations will lead to further questions over the hosting of the tournament, which is scheduled for November and December of 2022.

The indictment states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive — Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, the late Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay and an unnamed co-conspirator — took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.

“Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and co-conspirator #1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup,” reads the indictment.

Teixeira, the former son-in-law of long-time FIFA boss Joao Havelange and ex-head of the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF), was not immediately reachable for comment.

The DOJ also alleges that then FIFA vice president Jack Warner was paid $5 million through various shell companies to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

Warner has been accused of a number of crimes in the long-running USprobe and is fighting extradition from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Warner, who was not immediately reachable for comment, has always denied any wrongdoing.

Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the local organizing committee for Russia’s 2018 World Cup, told the Interfax news agency: “This is only the opinion of lawyers. We have repeatedly said that our bid was transparent.

“At the time we answered all questions, including from the investigation branch of FIFA and from the media, we handed over all needed documents. We have nothing to add to this and we will not respond to attempts to cast a shadow on our bid.”

Asked if the Kremlin was aware of the US indictment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We read the media reports. We don’t understand what they refer to.

“Russia received the right to host the World Cup completely legally. It is in no way linked to any bribes. We reject this. And Russia hosted the best soccer World Cup in history, which we are proud of.”

The Qatar World Cup organizers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the tiny Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament.

In 2014, FIFA, then under the control of former President Sepp Blatter, cleared Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing in their bids to host the World Cup after an investigation.

Blatter was banned from football by FIFA along with scores of other officials following internal ethics investigations, promoted by the arrests of seven FIFA officials on UScorruption charges in Zurich in May 2015.