In a single a part of Riyadh, two of the world’s most high-profile boxers squared off at a weigh-in exterior a 5-star resort forward of the primary heavyweight title struggle to happen within the Center East.
Throughout city, American rappers Akon and Chris Brown have been about to headline a live performance at a UNESCO heritage web site.
Saudi Arabia is present process pretty radical social change in some methods beneath Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, however critics say the nation is utilizing massive sports activities and leisure occasions to divert consideration from its human-rights file violations, together with the homicide of Washington Submit columnist Jamal Khashoggi final yr.
The dominion’s government-backed Normal Sports activities Authority has a distinct view, saying the push to painting a brand new picture of modernization and to spice up tourism is “a journey of transformation.”
Anthony Joshua, the British fighter in search of to reclaim three heavyweight titles from Mexican-American champion Andy Ruiz Jr. of their rematch in Saudi Arabia this weekend, hasn’t simply been fielding questions concerning the bout. He is additionally confronted scrutiny over whether or not he’s being utilized by the Saudis in a bid to “sportswash” their fame.
“All I am right here to do is field,” Joshua advised The Related Press this week when requested if he had any considerations about combating within the kingdom. “So away we go. We’re right here now. I am snug.”
Reportedly pocketing $70 million US for being right here, Joshua was unlikely to say anything.
“It is a huge alternative,” he advised the AP. “Boxers…