Dillian Whyte added to undercard for Anthony Joshua - Andy Ruiz Jr Clash on the Dunes bout

WBC champion Dillian Whyte will return to the ring for the Clash on the Dunes undercard, taking on Polish fighter Mariusz Wach. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2019

Dillian Whyte added to undercard for Anthony Joshua - Andy Ruiz Jr Clash on the Dunes bout

  • The British Heavyweight contender has landed a spot fighting on the undercard
  • Taking on Polish fighter Mariusz Wach

RIYADH: Anticipation for next weekend’s "Clash On The Dunes" boxing bout has been turned up another notch with the announcement that former WBC champion Dillian Whyte will return to the ring for the night’s undercard, taking on Polish fighter Mariusz Wach.

The British Heavyweight contender has landed a spot fighting in the build-up to the Andy Ruiz Jr vs. Anthony Joshua world heavyweight title rematch, taking place at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7th.

Whyte – who defeated Colombian Oscar Rivas to claim the interim World Boxing Council World Heavyweight Title back in July – will take on Poland’s former world title challenger Wach, known as The Viking.

“I’m delighted to be fighting in Saudi Arabia against Mariusz Wach,” said Whyte. “He’s probably got one of the best chins in the heavyweight division.

“I have been training and working hard to fight so it’s great to get a date and it’s very exciting for me to be fighting somewhere different like Saudi Arabia. I want to fight in different places and different settings and this card has the biggest heavyweight fight on it that we have seen in years.

“I’m just going to keep chasing the world titles, so if I keep winning then I hope to land that world title shot in 2020. That’s the plan for December 7th.”

Speaking of the Clash On The Dunes, Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of promoter Matchroom Boxing, said: “This wraps up a huge card for what will be a historic night for the sport.

"Ten big heavyweights will descend on Diriyah to cause a shockwave through world boxing as Saudi Arabia hosts one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all time.”

Elsewhere on the big fight’s undercard, Britain’s Tom Little will be targeting a huge upset when he takes on Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov, the former world amateur champion. Alexander Povetkin of Russia is set for an explosive encounter with American fighter Michael Hunter, while Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic's faces a step-up in class when he goes toe-to-toe with another US-fighter, Eric Molina.

The talented young duo of Leeds Super-Bantamweight Hopey Price (1-0) and Los Angeles Super-Middleweight Diego Pacheco (7-0, 6 KOs) will also be eager to impress.

Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

Updated 09 July 2020

Milan turn to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Liverpool to revive glory

ROME: Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the Scudetto, AC Milan decided returning to the pinnacle of football required a new approach.

Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans.

And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team that just won their league for the first time in 30 years?

“We have been talking to Liverpool,” Milan chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig told The Associated Press, “because they’ve been through the same path as we are going through now.”

Milan are enduring their longest Serie A drought since the 1980s. Despite beating leader Juventus on Tuesday, even the top four Champions League places are out of reach in this pandemic-delayed season. It’s been seven years since Milan last competed in Europe’s elite competition.

“We’re working very hard to get back to where we should be, and from that perspective, it does help open doors when you have won seven Champions Leagues,” Stylsvig said. 

“Playing European football is top of the agenda. It is our natural habitat and somewhere we should be.”

Only Real Madrid has lifted the European Cup more often than Milan. But that seventh title was won 13 years ago, by beating Liverpool.

Now Liverpool are the lodestar for Milan, which have fallen to 21st in the Deloitte ranking of football’s moneymakers with revenue of €206.3 million  ($234 million) in the last financial year, a third of the income at the newly crowned Premier League champions.

“Four, five years ago, no one considered Liverpool and see where they are now,” Stylsvig said. “They obviously play very attractive football. They are winning, they have a fantastic manager, a fantastic team and now they are following suit from a commercial perspective. It has taken time, but their model seems to work.”

Liverpool have been run for a decade by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group. Milan have also had American ownership for three years since the takeover by the Elliott Management hedge fund.

“We are obviously a global brand,” Stylsvig said in a telephone interview. “I’ve probably been talking too much in the Italian market in the last few years and (the coronavirus) sort of pushed us to think more global again.”

The pandemic that shut down sports produced the first public manifestation of the partnership with Roc Nation when Milan staged a live virtual fundraising concert headlined by Alicia Keys.

“I do think merging sport and entertainment could be the way of engaging new fans,” Stylsvig said. “The world has changed dramatically and we need to follow suit. Roc Nation is helping us, challenging us with that, having someone on the sideline to do that.”

The biggest audiences logging in to watch “From Milan with Love” were from China and the US.

With no games being played during the three-month Serie A shutdown — and crowds still prohibited from matches — Milan have had to find new ways of connecting with its fan base and fulfilling commercial deals.

“It’s been incredibly challenging,” Stylsvig said. “You basically have to rethink the model. So one of the first things we did was focusing much more on a digital space, creating content and trying to be engaging and trying to talk to our partners.”

Further down the line is moving into a new stadium, with plans to rebuild the San Siro it shares with Inter Milan.

“That will change the club,” Stylsvig said. “The revenues are incredibly important but also for the perception of the club.”