RIYADH: Thousands of British fans have swept the box office for the historic Diriyah fight, where British boxer Anthony Joshua will meet Mexican-American opponent Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The match is sponsored by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The organizing committee’s figures showed that half of the tickets to the anticipated match have been purchased by fans from the UK, with seats going to fans from 65 different countries in total.
Some have booked round trips from as far afield as Fiji, traveling 30,000 kilometers to attend the event.
Joshua, the favorite, said he was looking forward to beating Ruiz Jr., and winning back the belts of the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Organization, and the World Boxing Federation he lost to his opponent in New York earlier this year.
Speaking about the diversity of ticket sales, Frank Smith, CEO of Matchroom Boxing, said: “The matches in which Anthony Joshua participated achieved record sales around the world, whether in London or New York. Joshua is a world-renowned star, and I believe he will fight an exciting match against his opponent, who is also popular among fans from around the world.”
He added: “This upcoming match is one of the biggest boxing fights in the world. Therefore, there is a global interest that is growing at a very rapid pace. There is no doubt that the spectacular crowd that brings together boxing fans from the UK, US and Saudi Arabia will provide a great atmosphere during the evening of the fight, and we look forward to expanding this audience to include more countries.”
The fight is part of the month-long Diriyah Season, which features a variety of major sporting events, including Formula E races, held a few days ago, the Diriyah Tennis Cup, in which eight of the world’s best male tennis players participated, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, in which an elite group of riders compete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The organizing committee of the fight highlighted that tickets can be bought from the Diriyah Season website (www.diriyahseason.sa) and tourist visas are available to tourists from outside the Kingdom through the website visitsaudi.com.