First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
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Updated 13 June 2024
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First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
  • Ziyad Al-Maayouf tells the Mayman Show by Arab News he hopes he can inspire more young Saudis to take up the sport and follow in his footsteps
  • In the absence of any local boxing heroes from the Kingdom when starting out, he says he looked to Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao for inspiration

Riyadh: Saudi professional boxer Ziyad Al-Maayouf is proud that the Kingdom is establishing itself as a major force on the global sports stage.

During an interview with the Mayman Show by Arab News, the 23-year-old also spoke of his hopes that he is only the first of many professional boxers from Saudi Arabia, and told how his journey as a professional boxer began in 2010.

“It really started for me when one day I Googled ‘professional Saudi boxer.’ I found no one,” he said, adding that he then searched for just “Saudi boxer” and still found no results.

This is important, he added, because young people who aspire to careers in sports naturally look to their idols for inspiration.

“It’s even a lot better when your idols are people you can relate to, where your superheroes are people you could relate to,” he said.

But when Al-Maayouf went looking for someone with whom he could closely identify to inspire him in his boxing career he could not find anyone from his country.

“That’s where I said, OK, I think this is where I want to start competing,” he said. “I want to be the guy who, when you Google ‘professional boxer from Saudi Arabia,’ he comes up; and, you know, little did I know, the stars were aligning in the way they did.”

Al-Maayouf said he is very pleased to see sports initiatives form such an important part of Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s national development and diversification plan.

“The sport they choose to invest in the most, and powerfully, powerfully, like that, is boxing,” he said. “And then behind the scenes, there is a Saudi boxer that’s been training for over a decade, preparing and waiting for a moment like that. So I always say that my career aligns exactly with Vision 2030, you know?”

In the absence of any local heroes, Al-Maayouf said he has been greatly inspired by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, in part because of what the fighter means to the people of his native country.

“The way that he is to the Philippines, they look at him as if he’s come from the sky,” he said. “It's like he is something else for them there. It is like he’s a prophet there (for) what he was for the Philippines, how he carried that weight on his back and how much he achieved while doing so.”

Al-Maayouf said he can relate to Pacquiao’s journey as a boxer who moved alone to another country to train, leaving his family and friends behind. He also respects the legendary fighter’s achievements outside of the ring, in particular his efforts to help promote his country and community.

“How he helped his people, how he introduced the world to the Philippines, you know?” he said. “And he was always announced as ‘the fighting pride of the Philippines.’ So I always wanted to be announced as ‘the fighting pride of Saudi Arabia,’ you know? ‘The fighting pride of the Arab world.’”

Inspired by Pacquiao, Al-Maayouf trained at the Filipino fighter’s gym when he moved to the US in 2019 to pursue his studies, majoring in psychology.

“I only applied to universities in Los Angeles because that’s where Pacquiao was,” he said. “That’s where Pacquiao’s gym was. That’s where his coach was. I wanted to go where Pacquiao did, so I did exactly that.

“On Aug. 4, 2019, I arrived in LA; on Aug. 5, I was in Pacquiao’s gym, training. And ever since, I could maybe count the weeks on my hand that I took off from training since 2019. Because when I moved, I realized that the decade I had been training before went out the window because, you know, we didn’t have the IQ, the knowledge.”

The Kingdom was still learning about boxing during that time, he said, and the sport was rarely even broadcast on TV.

“So the levels were completely different,” Al-Maayouf added. “I stayed there for a lot of years, just getting a beating every single day.”


Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans

Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans

Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans
  • Tel Aviv must end its ‘aggression’ and allow for urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza
  • UN failure to stop Israel driven by ‘short-sighted, selfish political interests,’ says Saudi envoy Abdulaziz Alwasil

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdulaziz Alwasil, on Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that would compel Israel to end its war on Gaza.

Alwasil said Tel Aviv must comply with the Security Council’s own resolutions, which call for an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of aid into Gaza.

He said Israel, as the occupying power, must be forced to respect international law. This includes implementing the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures to end the genocide being perpetrated on the Palestinian people.

Alwasil said the UN Security Council, since the beginning of the assault on Gaza 10 months ago, has been holding “meeting after meeting to no avail.”

Meanwhile, the world continues to witness the Israeli “war machine deliberately targeting civilians and imposing the harshest forms of collective punishment by killing, displacing, starving and imposing a blockade on civilians.”

Alwasil added: “All of these blatant violations are happening before the eyes of the world and the international community continues to turn a blind eye.

“And this inaction pushed the occupation power, which is hiding behind a solid wall, to take advantage of this weakness and international silence to impose its inhumane, violent practices unabated.”

The Saudi Arabia envoy was speaking at a signature UN Security Council meeting called by Russia, which is holding the rotating presidency of the body for the month of July. It was chaired by Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Alwasil lamented the failure of the Security Council to stop the war, which he blamed on members of the body being bound by “short-sighted, selfish political interests that have impeded its ability to take the necessary firm actions to stop the Israeli aggression.”

“The failure by the international community and the Security Council to protect the innocent civilians has led so far to the killing of 38,000 people and the injury and maiming of tens of thousands, most of whom are women and children,” said Alwasil.

He added: “How can such a forced displacement that is recurrent in Gaza be justified? How can we stay silent in the face of this systematic starvation and deliberative blockade? How can the international community stand idly while a major humanitarian catastrophe is taking place before our eyes?”

Alwasil vowed that his country would continue to support the Palestinian right to self-determination and the establishment of a state on the lines of 1967 with East Jerusalem as the capital.

This would “ensure comprehensive justice (and) peace in line with the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.”


Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Saudi Press Agency said early Thursday.

The pair discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations in all fields.

The call also reviewed issues of mutual interest.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss relations 
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss relations 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a call on Wednesday to Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The pair discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations in all fields.

The call also reviewed issues of mutual interest.


Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli strikes on UN school in Gaza

Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli strikes on UN school in Gaza
Updated 17 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli strikes on UN school in Gaza

Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli strikes on UN school in Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has condemned Israel’s targeting the UNRWA-run Al-Razi School in Nuseirat camp in Gaza, and Al-Attar area in Khan Yunis, killing dozens and injuring hundreds, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

The statement described the attacks as “a series of repeated violations by the Israeli war machine against defenseless civilians.”

Israeli airstrikes killed more than 60 Palestinians in southern and central Gaza overnight and into Tuesday, including one that struck an Israeli-declared “safe zone” crowded with thousands of displaced people.

Tuesday’s deadliest strike hit a main street lined with market stalls outside the southern city of Khan Younis in Muwasi, at the heart of the zone that is packed with tent camps. Officials at Khan Younis’ Nasser Hospital said 17 people were killed.

Saudi Arabia renewed its categorical rejection of the continuation of Israeli genocidal crimes, and demanded an immediate ceasefire and ensuring the protection of civilians, relief facilities and their workers.

“The Kingdom holds the Israeli occupation forces fully responsible for their continued violation of all international and humanitarian norms and laws,” the statement read.

Saudi Arabia also reiterated the legal, humanitarian and moral responsibility placed on the international community to put an end to these ongoing violations of international law and international legitimacy resolutions by the Israeli forces.

The Kingdom said the failure to do so “not only reflects the inability and weakness of the international community institutions, but also portends consequences that go beyond this crisis and affect the foundations of international legitimacy and credibility, and the extent of our ability to maintain regional and international security and stability in the future.”

-With AP


Saudi crown prince, Macron discuss Gaza, Russia-Ukraine war 

Saudi crown prince, Macron discuss Gaza, Russia-Ukraine war 
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Macron discuss Gaza, Russia-Ukraine war 

Saudi crown prince, Macron discuss Gaza, Russia-Ukraine war 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call on Wednesday from French President Emmanuel Macron, the Saudi Press Agency said.

During the call  they discussed the situation in Gaza and the Russia-Ukraine war, in addition to efforts aimed at achieving security and stability.

The pair also reviewed bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as the latest regional and international developments.