Usyk-Joshua and the Strange Choice of Saudi Arabia – Yalla Match

Is it fair to criticize Usek and Joshua for accepting so much money to fight in the Middle East?

Saudi Arabia, here we are again. It’s been two and a half years since Anthony Joshua flew there, set aside a series of embarrassing questions about the ethics of fighting in such a controversial environment, and achieved one of the most important victories of his career when he defeated Andy has. Ruiz Jenner, his only winner, in a one-sided rematch.

The similarities are clear when he prepares to face Oleksandr Usyk in a follow-up to a match the Ukrainians won in London last year. The obvious reason for launching Joshua’s last game in the Middle East is money, and to carry it into the desert. Should we, or should we, consider boxers to bring in as much cash as they can get their hands on? Certainly difficult.

There is also more to consider. Although the plump wedge on display is the biggest factor in determining this eagerly awaited return, there’s no doubt that Joshua – who must be selfish at this crucial point in his career – will like the idea of ​​returning to ‘ a place where he got it right. restore order in his boxing career From before.

Joshua was in Saudi Arabia in 2019, with November coming in December, he was largely protected from the unspeakable tension of fighting at home. What followed was a perfect punch show against Ruiz that barely dropped a glove on the man who had hit him aimlessly just six months earlier. For Joshua, Saudi Arabia only generates happy memories.

Of course, this is not the case for everyone. The country’s human rights record is notorious and gruesome. It should be impossible to ignore the issue of washing sportswear, but as we now know well, when there are large sums of money, the worst crimes can be overlooked. Joshua claims he knows nothing about washing gym clothes, even though he asked the same questions in 2019. Some would say that a fighter with a big profile like him would make the task of figuring out his prerogative. Others would suggest that it is not his prerogative as an athlete to get involved in such matters.

What cannot be ignored is that the Middle East Revolution is upon us. The sports scene, where fans were an important part of every production, may never be the same again. If big figures in sports like tennis, golf, motor racing and football are lucky enough to take the Saudi money, you can be sure that boxing will get his hands dirty too.

When you pay to write about boxing, it is very difficult to maintain high morals. Will the BN be there to report the event? Of course, if allowed. After all, it is our duty. But there is something extraordinarily disturbing about Saudi Arabia’s rise as a boxing powerhouse. If Joshua wins, one has to expect a fight against Tyson Fury and then follow in the same country. Not in the UK, where fans will turn up in masses and the competition will be such a big event as last year’s European Football Championship final, but in Saudi Arabia where the Wonga is available and the moral compass barely exists. If we are not careful, we will soon be in a situation where every superhero fight is staged in the Middle East because nowhere else can compete, at least financially.

Apart from financial matters, it is far from ideal. Back in Joshua-Ruiz II, Fight Week was intriguing, the weight was barely noticeable and the event itself did not have that infectious buzz that every really big fight needs to feel like a very big fight. It felt like no one except the people involved knew that a big heavyweight fight was actually going on.

The strange storm that threatened the hastily built outpost in Diriyah did not help anything. Many of the battle fans I spoke to who made the trip to Saudi Arabia were largely unimpressed. The rain was nobody’s fault, but Saudi Arabia is not as attractive as Las Vegas, New York or London for a fan visit. All in all, although this is a case of work that Joshua did so well, the experience was strange at best. But pleasing the fans present was never the goal; Sports events in Saudi Arabia are not about making money outside the door, but rather exhibitions aimed at showing it to the rest of the world.

It may be different this time. It will be in Jeddah, the city that has arranged more great events than Diriyah. Furthermore, the lineup does not seem to be stopping fans at home from buying pay-per-view in 2019. The GMT + 3 time zone means that British bettors can go to their couches around 20:00 and see what remains a very attractive competition. It’s easier to ignore the Saudi subplot if you’re not there either.

While covering Joshua-Ruiz II, I also spoke to a bus driver who transported media from one place to another. He was British and earned five times what he could earn in the UK. By spending two months in Saudi Arabia, he can provide for his family in a way that was impossible at home. Do we condemn the driver for that? It’s undoubtedly easier for me and I to relate to a struggling coach than to multi-millionaire boxers, but nonetheless, everything is relative.

Joshua gambles his entire career and reputation by fighting Usyek again. Meanwhile, Usyk has just left a war zone in Ukraine where he has led a happy life with his family.

Only fighters can decide if the money offered is really worth it.

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