15,000 to watch Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz bout

The purpose-built venue for Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is ready the biggest boxing fight of the year.

Work on the 15,000-seat Diriyah Arena only began two months before the fight, which holds on 7 December.

Briton Joshua is seeking to regain the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles after June’s shocking defeat by Ruiz in New York.

The Diriyah Square, home to the biggest boxing fight of the year /Photo: Diriyah Season


Joshua has visited the venue after arriving in Saudi Arabia. “The arena and site are utterly breathtaking. We can’t wait,” said his promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Diriyah Arena was built by 175 staff and incorporates 295 tonnes of steel. It will take a month to deconstruct after the bout, with 95 percent of the material being reused to stage other events.

Anthony Joshua arriving Saudi Arabia greets a fan at the airport in Riyadh /Photo: AJF


Saudi Arabia was chosen to host the match ahead of rival proposals from Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and Dubai. The country hosted British boxer Amir Khan’s win over Billy Dib in July and Callum Smith’s success over George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September 2018.

Saudi Arabia has begun staging big-ticket sporting and entertainment events in a bid to attract visitors and portray the image of an open nation.

Felix Dappah

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