Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

The eyes of the world were on Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Friday as defending world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua weighed in for their Clash on the Dunes bout. (Matchroom Boxing)
Updated 06 December 2019

Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

  • Joshua showed off dramatic weight loss, lightest he has ever been for professional fight
  • Ruiz Jr. a stone heavier than first fight in New York

RIYADH: The eyes of the sporting world were on Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Friday as defending world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua weighed in for their Clash on the Dunes bout. 

Joshua came in at 16 stone 13 pounds (107 kilograms), showing off his leaner physique all week and the lightest he has been for a professional fight.

Meanwhile, Mexican Ruiz was heavier than before their first fight earlier this year, weighing in at 20 stone 3 pounds (128 kilograms). 

Joshua told the media earlier this week ahead of their world heavyweight championship fight that he had been treating the task of winning back the belts he lost to Ruiz in June as a “marathon not a sprint," and his dramatic weight loss would point to the British boxer hoping to tire out his Mexican opponent if the fight reaches the later rounds. 

Ruiz, however, had been claiming in the build-up to the fight that he had lost weight since his victory in New York, while questioning whether Joshua’s gain of muscle mass would allow him to take punches to the body. 

Ruiz's chef and nutritionist told the media that his client planned to “feel lighter (this time) so it's easier to move on his feet."  

Ruiz Jr said: "I am losing eight pounds from what I weighed (prior to the first fight)," but the scales belied his claims and has instead become a stone heavier. 

The two heavyweights drew a crowd of thousands on the grounds of the Al-Fasailiah Hotel in Riyadh, with every fighter on the card for Saturday’s clash weighing in – including Saudi Arabia’s very own Zuhayr Al-Qahtani who faces Omar Dusary for the WBC Middle East title. 

Their IBO, WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight championship fight is being held at the custom-built Diriyah Arena in the historic Diriyah part of the city, and earlier this week the two fighters visited the site, with Joshua calling the venue “perfectly designed.”

He said: “I went there, I said my prayers and took the time to embrace what’s to come Saturday night. I want to walk in with confidence and everyone is there to feel that same type of confidence that I feel and have a great time.” 

Ruiz Jr. echoed Joshua’s sentiments, adding that the venue was the "perfect place to make history,” vowing to stop Joshua at all costs. 

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sports which kicked off with Formula E in November, and 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, still to come. 


Riyadh to host inaugural Saudi international cycling race

Updated 22 January 2020

Riyadh to host inaugural Saudi international cycling race

  • This new race represents an exciting organizational challenge, a coherent sporting event for an entire category of riders

JEDDAH: Sports chiefs are gearing up to announce the Saudi city venue for a new international cycling race set to take place in the Kingdom.

Chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal is expected to reveal on Thursday that Riyadh will host the five-stage Saudi Tour 2020 from Feb. 4 to 8.

The inaugural edition of the 2.1 category race is being staged by Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the organizer of the world-famous Tour de France.

Details of the route in and around the Saudi capital were due to be released during a press conference at Riyadh’s Digital City.

The cycling event precedes the Tour of Oman (Feb. 11 to 16) which is facing cancelation following the death of Sultan Qaboos.

ASO chief executive, Yann Le Moenner, said: “We are involved in the emergence of a new racing scene in the Middle East, which corresponds to the riders’ demand at the beginning of the year.

“The creation of the Saudi Tour and its sustainable installation in the calendar is part of this movement. This new race represents an exciting organizational challenge, a coherent sporting event for an entire category of riders, and a nice opportunity for the television viewers who follow the race to discover new landscapes.

“This is also, for us, an occasion to contribute to the development of cycling across the Kingdom,” he added.

Saudi Cycling Federation chief Sabah Al-Kraidees said it was an “honor” to have the inaugural Saudi Tour, noting that the event would help to promote the Kingdom as a tourist destination.

“The Saudi Tour is a great opportunity to publicize the country’s varied territories and historic sites and to let visitors discover our sense of hospitality. This initiative fits perfectly with the ambition of Saudi Arabia to promote the Kingdom beyond its borders through sports and especially cycling,” he added.

The five-day event will feature stages in the hills around Riyadh and on urban circuits.

The Kingdom recently began issuing tourist visas after travel to the country was largely limited to pilgrims, business travelers and resident workers.