Hundreds of young Saudi men and women have taken part in a cinematic promo for the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ tournament which will see heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk face Briton Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
Featuring 300 Saudi nationals, the film is shot on location in both London and Jeddah and is part of the build-up of the fight which will take place in Jeddah on August 20, in what is being billed as one of the biggest heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport.
Directed by Dominic O'Riordan, the promo brings to life the vision of Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz, who wanted to capture the excitement of the fight taking place in the city of Jeddah.
Usyk will defend his WBA ‘Super,’ IBF, WBO, and IBO titles at the indoor King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 20 against the man he claimed them from last year, with Joshua once again looking to the Kingdom to regain his belts.
Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of SCEE: “The promo is stunning and we’re delighted with how it reflects the excitement of the year’s biggest fight taking place in our transforming country.”
Ravi Samani of Skill Challenge added: “The complexities of shooting the promo across multiple locations were overcome by incredible collaboration and hard work from everyone involved, including the local people in Jeddah who really bring the film to life.”
The promo tells the story of each fighter’s preparations, both in their homelands and then Jeddah.
The promo’s conclusion is set in the city’s al-Balad district located in its historic old town and features both fighters coming face-to-face, with over 300 local men and women looking on.
“It was an amazing experience to shoot in the historic location of al-Balad for the face-off scene,” said O’Riordan, whose CV includes films for the likes of adidas, BAFTA, Nike, and Visa. “It was really important to me that we give viewers a taste of Saudi culture that for so many, is still an unknown.
“I think you can tell in the film that both boxers fed off the awesome energy from the local people and their music and dancing.”
O’Riordan added: “Part of what I love about being a director is getting the opportunity to shoot in locations I have never been before and Saudi Arabia has always been a place I have wanted to visit. I knew that this film deserved a very cinematic treatment to mirror the occasion of the fight being held in Jeddah.”
Produced by Whisper and led by Exec Producer Jemma Goba, the film was shot over several locations in the UK and Jeddah and employed some of the latest production technology and techniques. Working alongside local creative and production agencies, Whisper led a production crew of over 60.
The Rage on the Red Sea is the latest international sports event to take place in Saudi Arabia, which has recently emerged as one of the fastest transforming countries in world sport. Since the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ between Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, there has been a nearly 300 percent surge in male and female boxers in the Kingdom, with the number of boxing gyms growing from just seven to 59.
As part of the country’s aims to get its people engaged and participating in sport, the Saudi Boxing Federation is aiming to inspire 500,000 into sport in the next four years.
The promo film which was led by Whisper and delivered with the support of various local agencies including Purple Brain and 8ies. As well as al-Balad, locations included King Abdullah Sports Stadium, an indoor warehouse, Jeddah old town and Usyk training in the Red Sea.
The final version will be available to view across two-minute, 60 second, 30 second and 15 second version and will form part of the Kingdom’s plans to use the event to inspire more of its people to get involved in sport and lead healthy lives. Sports participation levels have increased by over 30 percent including a 149 percent increase in women and girls.
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